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Unplug to Get More

October '10

The soothing jiggle of wheels on the track attends my ride as I compose this newsletter. Out the train window, flashing hues of scarlet, orange and yellow signal the arrival of autumn in New England. I’m headed out of town for a delightful, extended weekend – four days with family disconnected from all Internet distractions. In short, I’ll be temporarily unplugged. And the result? Experience has taught me that I’ll return relaxed, refreshed and ready to tackle all the work I left behind.

According to Dr. Aric Sigman, there is growing evidence that going off the Internet grid enhances well-being. Turns out interacting in person has positive effects, not seen when connecting on line. Whenever we are actually with people different things happen to us physically and mentally. Sigman suggests these reactions probably result from evolutionary mechanisms that recognize the benefit of being together geographically.

As further incentive for disconnecting from the digital world, a University of London study for Hewlett-Packard found that “infomania” (a term to describe addiction to email and texting) lowers your IQ. By constantly presenting new stimuli into your day, these activities raise levels of noradrenalin and dopamine in the brain. While momentarily exciting, when levels of these hormones get too high, it’s harder to deal with the complexity of making decisions and solving problems.

And that’s a capacity you need when you embark on the midlife voyage of discovering who you are and what you want. So why not unplug for 24 hours, or dare I even suggest a few days, and focus on what’s really important to you? I’m not unaware of the irony in my recommendation to unhook yourself  from the grid in an on-line newsletter.  Furthermore, I confess to creating my Bonnie Leonard Coaching Facebook page, so I can connect with you on the Internet.

But still, I encourage you to spend a full day unplugged, where you only engage in person with friends and family. I trust that you’ll come back, and let me know what this off-grid time meant to you.

Love to hear about your experience,
Bonnie

2 Comments

  1. Meg said on November 3, 2010:

    I find it hard to get anything done in the evenings because I come home from work and sit down at my computer. I only mean to check my email and facebook updates, but it always turns into a couple of hours worth of computer time. One thing always leads to another. I can see where being unplugged would really free up my evenings.

    I guess I need to figure out some guidelines and commit to them, such as only checking email for 1/2 hour and then turning off the computer or perhaps have dedicated evenings that are just “unplugged”. It would probably help lower my stress level.

  2. Bonnie said on November 3, 2010:

    Hi Meg!

    You’ve outlined two great strategies. Love to hear how they work out for you!

    Bonnie

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