NAVIGATION- Dr. Charles R. Davenport; Licensed Psychologist

Is your smart phone controlling you?

Smart phones, a powerful tool in our modern culture… According to Wikipedia smart phones combine the features of the cell phone with a mobile computing device capable of high-speed Internet. With these amazing tools we are able to do many more things at the drop of a hat. We “CAN” be more productive. We should watch out for the down side of having such a powerful tool. It seems that a new iteration of smart phone technology is just around the corner. While this can be exciting and open new doors it can also leave us susceptible to being overwhelmed and by overwhelmed I mean  the experience of being stressed  or overloaded. There are less opportunities to do nothing, which might more aptly be characterized by time to take a breath to relax. Not having  the space we need to recharge can leave us more at risk for burnout or at least being less productive.

Although having a smart phone can open the door to doing more we should be mindful of requiring time to slow down and giving ourselves “permission” to be less than optimal in our time management in the short run so that we can be in the best condition to do our best otherwise. An example I frequently find myself sharing with patients is the message we hear on an airplane about oxygen masks. they will tell you if you are traveling with a small child  to put your oxygen mask on first then the child’s. Although, this can seem counterintuitive, if we take to heart doing for others as a priority we can accidentally miss the importance of caring for ourselves so we are best able to do for others.

In addition, technology allows us to have a larger fund of information available at our fingertips then, perhaps, as human beings we have ever had in the past. I might suggest that this comes with a host of other challenges. Our minds may be freed to not have to retain mundane data but the massive increase in complexity this allows us can also necessitate the need for a recharge or at least a reevaluation. It may be helpful to put the phone down and slowly back away… at least until the next alert chimes in.

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