2018 a year to reset our minds

It's a New Year.  Many are resetting their bodies, digestive systems, workout plans and personal organization.  I'm resetting my mind. 

 source:  usedopamine.com

Trigger : something that serves as a stimulus and initiates a reaction or series of reactions. 

Ding.  Click.  Scroll.  Our brains are trained to have triggers that call us back to our devices.  I've taken a few weeks off of the interweb & social media posting to "rest" and "reset" my mind this holiday as well as giving my full attention to those in my life.  The word reset means to "set anew'.  In the context of our minds, doesn't that sound dreamy?

 source: by Douglas Coupland at artnet.com

source: by Douglas Coupland at artnet.com

It was a great break, but even with the time off, my mind was still so very active.  My personality also makes it hard for my mind to rest - learning this is part of my spiritual growth.  But there is a lot of recent brain science reporting that this technology age is not helping my mind rest. It's actually doing the opposite.  This past year in the news many learned of the current dopamine labs created to literally change our brains to cause addiction to their apps, games and social media. 

 ”Our platform uses AI and neuroscience to personalize moments of joy in your app. It adapts the rhythm and timing of 💥s to surprise and hook each user.  They’ll stay longer and engage more.  Up to 167% more.”
— -usedopamine.com 

Those users they're talking about are you, me, our kids, our society.  While these tech companies develop mind altering technology many of them keep devices far away from their own children and even themselves because they know the effect it will have on their brains, their habits and eventually their lives. 

We've been studying and following, not only American, but the global tech giants: Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, The Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings for a few years now.  We learned years ago that many of these executives, including the creator of the iPhone, Steve Jobs, along with the creator of Twitter limited their kids and themselves on their devices.  The very people building the technolgoy are now learning to set their own boundaries and some even regretting and recognizing what they have done to our society and world.  

A former Facebook executive has said he feels “tremendous guilt” over his work on “tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works”, joining a growing chorus of critics of the social media giant.
— Julia Carrie Wong, theguardian.com
 source: nytimes.com

source: nytimes.com

"All this talk of hacking human psychology could sound paranoid, if Harris had not witnessed the manipulation firsthand." - The Atlantic, on Tristan Harris

Even with this knowledge, realizing the top Silicone Valley schools are raising low-tech kids in a high tech world, our public education systems are moving quickly to all electronics.  Our restaurants are providing iPads for kids to play on while eating. Our culture is face down - tech-neck and all - behind our screens.  
We've been bringing awareness to this issue and creating products to help families unplug for a few years now.  I do have a strong belief that awareness can bring change and 2017 did just that.  For many the tide is changing and the truth is coming forward thanks to resent research, neuroscience and news outlets. 

What does all of this mean for us?  What can the everyday person do in the shadow of these huge companies with all the allure they offer us and our families 24 hours a day?

We can listen to the research. 

We can be smart.


Boundaries for myself and my family do not mean we are weak, they mean we are smart.  Looking at the facts about what this is doing for our mental health is key for setting good standards in our home and on our devices. 

As I look afresh at this year, 2018, and all its possibilities - I see a year of clarity.  I need to step into a place of making space for a restful mind.  What does that look like for me? 

Well, it looks like logging off and being human for a hot minute. 

First, I need to surrender my control and all the things I want to check off my lists. When I let go of that rigid grip I can quiet my mind enough to listen to what's important in this season of life.  Second is realigning my boundaries.  Where in my life have I strayed from them, from self-care, spiritual growth, family time, disciplines in my work/home/parenting, healthy boundaries in my technology use?  Lastly, I can practice gratitude. When I do that I am present in this life I'm living and not looking for something to fill me, or fill my time. 

If you're seeking ways to reset or just opportunities to unplug, please check out the products we offer at talkmoretechless.com - from our very own Smartphone Ed. for first time smartphone users, to our little phone decals to help remember to flip your phone over and connect with those in the moment.  Most of all, we hope you have a year of clarity.  A year of mindful rest to listen and do what it is you were made for in this life!

 phone decal - talkmoretechless.com

phone decal - talkmoretechless.com

We THE PEOPLE

Listen. 

 

Can you hear your people? Because they are your people, America. The scared, hurt, elated, rejoicing humans on the other side of the screen at which you are staring.  Can you hear this divided nation speak? Can you stop typing long enough to listen? We are the PEOPLE. 

“Nasty” was the word for this past election. That term permeated many of our avenues of communication and media from the top down. It was used in political advertisements, networks, new stations, news websites, media and social media alike. Historically, elections are “nasty”, but this technological age takes it to a whole new level. Behind a screen and with the tool - or weapon - of a keyboard, our typed words have public and global power like never before. They can pierce the heart and mind of young and old, soaking in the very letters clicking away under your fingers. 

The beautiful thing about freedom is we have the “right” to use our voices of influence for good or evil. Our views, concerns, issues and persuasions should be heard. We are better people when we speak up, listen and learn. Though, speaking up and not staying silent doesn’t mean we should rub one another's faces in the mud. The voices that are loud, mean, full of hate and self righteousness stifle the ability to cognitively listen, learn and grow.  Empathy is formed with eye contact and face to face interactions. With our culture, especially these younger generations, those interactions are happening less and less. 

I’ve been speaking and writing about “The ‘Human’ Cyberbully". The victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying are all people behind these screens.  Our kids are reading our posts and comments. They are developing human beings who are learning, watching, taking notice, imitating and acting out. 

 If we, as adults, forget we are typing these things about real, life-breathing humans - with hearts and souls, history and story - when we are commenting on Facebook posts, then how can we expect our kids to grow up with any amount of empathy for others.  What is the point of pushing anti-cyberbullying campaigns in schools when all our kids have to do is hop on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat to see mom, dad, grandpa, aunt and uncle tearing people to shreds with their words and self-righteous ideas of how they are RIGHT. 

Adults, models, influencers - listen. How can we make laws on cyberbullying to keep kids from committing suicide if we can’t lace our words today with grace and truth? Our babies…babies! (ages 12 and 14) in this country are getting prosecuted in court for their hateful words against their, now deceased, classmates. We have a responsibility.

In no way am I saying for our political culture to be silent. Our voices can be heard in humane and respectful methods.  I am just asking us to model respect! Historically, that is the best avenue for change anyway. 

So, I’ll say here what we teach 7th and 8th graders in the schools about posting online:

“If you wouldn’t look someone in the eye and say it to their face, full of empathy as a person…don’t post it.”

Here’s to our country speaking with grace, compassion and truth. Here's to listening to one another, moving on and growing. The election is over, now the work begins. Let’s realize our words are a part of our history and our future.