A to Z of Happiness: U - Unplug #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z ~ Ten On Tuesday

A decade ago, who would have thought that an A to Z list of happiness will have an entire article on unplugging from technology. But addiction to social media, internet, television and mobile phones is a very real thing in current times. So much so that there was actually a news item on Akashvani (All India Radio) last year, that several Facebook de-addiction clinics have opened up across the world!

My Dad started using Facebook in April last year, and today, he is more addicted to it than me! I used to wonder what he did on it for so long, because he has hardly 10 people in his friend list. So I took his phone one day and decided to check things out. (I must confess... I was a tad jealous! :P) Turned out that Facebook was busy "suggesting" videos to him! Funny videos, 5-paperclip-hacks kind of videos... you know. (His FB timeline is actually quite engrossing! I like it more than mine!)

But the thing is that he decides to check Facebook for just "5 minutes", and he doesn't even realize when those "5-minutes" turn into an hour! And this happens with all of us, doesn't it?

Our Addiction To Technology

The moment we wake up, we plug into technology, sometimes, without even getting out of bed. And we don't unplug throughout the day. There was a time when I used to chat on yahoo messenger till 2 in the night! And my computer remained 'on' round the clock, unless we had to lock up and go out of the house or we had a power cut. Now, we don't even need a computer, we have our "smart phones". We eat with them, sleep with them, travel with them, and even watch TV with them! If we wake up in the middle of the night, we immediately reach out for them!


The usefulness of technology cannot be doubted. We are more connected to people who matter. It is a fantastic medium to learn new things. It has created so many new career opportunities. But there has to be a moderation in all things we do, right? Same with technology. It is a good servant, but it shouldn't be allowed to become our master. We need to unplug from technology periodically, if we want to remain truly happy.

10 Happiness Benefits of Unplugging from Technology

  1. Remember how we discussed under QUIETUDE (Covered under 'Q') that the things we hear and read during the day, continue to replay in our minds long after? Setting aside technology-devoid time every day helps in reducing this unnecessary chatter, so that we can free our mind to focus on what's important to us.

  2. Constant information download, and then the repeat chatter in our mind, creates "brain fog", or a "mental blur". We go on auto-pilot mode, doing our mundane things, without actually noticing anything. A break gives us the space to become MINDFUL (Covered under 'M') again.

  3. Social media provides us constant updates about what everyone else is doing. And we get so caught up in the FOMO syndrome (Fear Of Missing Out), that we start doing what they are doing. Irrespective of whether it has any benefit to us or not. A conscious break will help us realign our strategies and actions with our goals, and SIMPLIFY (Covered under 'S') our life.

  4. Too much time on media increases our exposure to negativity. Politics, shootouts, terrorist attacks, rapes, murders... these are the things that hog mass media these days. Personal insecurities are growing. Relationships are getting more superficial. We need to limit media to DISREGARD (Covered under 'D') all this negativity.

  5. I just found out that one of three Facebook users report feeling more dissatisfied with their life after spending time on Facebook! It is natural, isn't it? If we are constantly bombarded with "happy" updates of other people, we will find it difficult to ACCEPT (Covered under 'A') our own life and circumstances.

  6. When we are constantly exposed to negative news, and feelings of jealousy and inadequacy, it can be absolutely impossible to keep our THOUGHTS (Covered under 'T') positive. Thoughts of lack and loneliness can only create more of the same in our life. We should make a habit of going offline every once in a while, to ensure we don't get caught in a negative loop.

  7. If we keep thinking about the vacations we can't afford, or the family we don't have, we'll forget to appreciate what we DO have. Unplugging ourselves from technology allows us to remember our many blessings and be GRATEFUL (Covered under 'G') for them.

  8. Too much of technology consumption keeps us distracted throughout the day and is a huge time-waster. We are unable to focus on our work, due to which our productivity suffers. We miss deadlines, we commit mistakes, we forget to do things. All this leads to a build-up of anxiety. We need regular breaks to maintain our CALM (Covered under 'C').

  9. Did we have this constant sense of emergency back in the 90s? This pressing need to remain "connected" at all times? To reply to work mails even on weekends? Then why now? This constant "connectedness" has stolen everyone's "YOU" time. (Covered under 'Y'.)

  10. Lack of exercise, bad postures, constant eye-strain, plus all the health issues that arise because of stress and negative thinking. We even tend to eat more when we are distracted by the TV or internet! Regular "time-outs" are, therefore, essential to take care of our physical WELL-BEING. (Covered under 'W'.)

Technology is a boon, yes. But it can also be a curse if we don't unplug from it periodically. Real life doesn't happen on screens, it happens in the real world. We need to disconnect from technological distractions if we want to increase our productivity, and nurture our relationships. We need to spend at least some quality time every day with our loved ones, and not with our eyes and ears glued to screens!

How much time do you spend on social media or phone every day? Do you feel the urge to check your phone even when it doesn't beep? What about television and news? Do you experience "withdrawal symptoms" if you don't get your minimum daily quota of news?

Here's more in "Ten-On-Tuesday"!

This is my 21st post for A to Z of Happiness.

I have completed this challenge once before, and published it as a kindle ebook. You can get it on amazon: A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.

(Continued below sponsored content)

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Want to Add Something?

Shailaja Vishwanath said...

I heartily agree that this is one addiction most of us need to get over :) I've begun to practise mindfulness and it has helped me vastly, to come to terms with my limitations as well as understand that I don't need to be online all the time. Life is beautiful and we must live it. It's also why I haven't done as much A-Z blog hopping as I did the last two times. I am quite content today :)

Debbie D. said...

Thanks for this timely and helpful post. So true that '5 minutes' can turn into an hour or more. With me, it's the Blogosphere more than Facebook, but same concept. I suffer from frequent bouts of internet fatigue and feel the need to step away periodically. Can't wait for the end of this month! LOL Too much sitting at my computer has caused me to gain (more) weight and I need to rectify that!

Josie Two Shoes said...

This is an excellent reminder, everything you have written here is true. It is so easy for hours to pass while we sit engrossed in Facebook, blogs, or news updates. We pass through our days, phone in hand, not even really connecting with those in our families. I love my electronic connections to the world, but there is a need to put them down for awhile, listen to our hearts, connect with others, and actually live in the moment. Very thoughtful post!

Josie Two Shoes: U is for Uriel

Doree Weller said...

This is so interesting, and I agree with all of it! My husband is especially guilty of not being able to unplug. Even when he's not on the computer, he's still kind of there mentally. We've found that vacations that separate us from our media (cruises, camping) are the best for recharging.
Doree Weller

Geetika Gupta said...

You know it's good to unplug but sometimes, when I unplug for too long, there is so much I miss between those wee hours of unplugging!


Vinodini Iyer said...

Just what I needed to read today. I'm down with a splitting headache today presumably due to overuse of my smartphone. I've been trying not to reach out for it hoping that the headache subsides, but I just haven't been able to do that for more than 10 minutes. A few months back, I had deactivated my FB from my smartphone and would log in only once in a day from my lappy. That itself made so much of a difference. Your dad is into FB and mine is into WhatsApp. He also has a very happening virtual life. ;) And, hey thanks for taking me back to those yahoo messenger days. Those were some days!

Molly of Molly's Canopy said...

This is so, so true! My biggest unplugging tip: I set my phone to no longer pop up messages every time someone posts on my Facebook or Twitter. I did it to save on battery life and data -- but its greater benefit is I no longer check these constantly and spend more time in real life :-)

Vidya Sury said...

This is perhaps my favorite post in this series. I love how you've incorporated the other AtoZ posts in the list, Chicky! I never was addicted to social media, and now I've consciously stopped logging in except once or twice a day to look at mentions. That's it. And I am happy! Hugs!

FinnBadger said...

I need to unplug way more often, thanks for the reminder.

Phillip | U is for Unexpected

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Vinodini ... this is probably the post I haven't properly read ... thankfully I'm not hooked to social media ... except this month when I get square eyes! But I rarely do FB, don't do Twitter, and usually don't take my phone with me ... so most of the time I'm away from dreaded connected life ...

But I can quite believe there's FB addiction clinics - crazy ...

Not us!!! Cheers Hilary


Aidyl Ewoh said...

Ah yes! I know that it's so important for me personally to make sure I don't get too addicted to the internet. Therefore I have guidelines in place that help me take breaks during the day and at least one day a week.

Visiting from the A to Z Challenge. See my “U” post here: https://lydiahowe.com/2017/04/25/u-is-for-uncle-izaac-atozchallenge/

Chicky Kadambari said...

Hi Shailaja! I'm thinking of taking a break from Facebook soon. True. Most of us are addicted to it like crazy. I get very disturbed when I realize I'm getting too dependent on something.
Thank you for stopping by! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Hahaha! Same here, Debbie. I haven't gained weight, 'coz I'm still continuing my diet, but I haven't lost any this month! :P

Chicky Kadambari said...

Exactly, Josie. You summed it up so well!
Thank you for visiting :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

That's what happens Doree! Many of us never come out of these things mentally!
It's good to know you guys have figured out a way that works for you! Thanks for stopping by :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Geets! You, my dear friend, are definitely suffering from FOMO! :P :P :P

Chicky Kadambari said...

LOL! Vinodini, I just deleted myself from the single whatsapp group I was a member of! :P
I hope your headache cleared up through the night. I will go off FB too next month.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Molly, that didn't work for me, unfortunately. I'd still open the app, even without notifications! Finally, I just removed the FB app from my phone. So I could access FB through a browser, from a computer only. That finally limited it! :P

Chicky Kadambari said...

You are a source of inspiration for me, Vidya. You maintain your exercise schedule. You maintain multiple blogs. AND you have time for family. Plus, you are always responsive on social media as well. I aspire to be like you do someday!

Chicky Kadambari said...

Thank you, Phillip! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Hello Hilary!
Were you writing to Vinodini, or did you get the name wrong by mistake? I'm not sure, so I'll take the liberty to reply! :P
Good to know this post didn't apply to you. You're one of those few rare persons who are online but not addicted to it. Amazing!

Chicky Kadambari said...

Breaks every day, and one extended break a week! That is a perfect system, Lydia.
Thanks for stopping by :)

shalz75 said...

I used to be very addicted to my phone up until a little while back and suffered from all the syndrommes you mentioned above.
One day I just got bored and that was that! My phone ceased to be an extention of me ;-)

​Vanillabeans & Peppercorns

Sreesha Divakaran said...

This is exactly why I deleted the FB app from my phone. I rarely log in, and I've noticed whenever I do, I end up seeing something that's upsetting or saddening. Just not worth my time and the injury to my well-being.
The bit about your dad was sweet :) Luckily my parents stay away from FB, though their friends keep pestering them.

Stefinia said...

Well... I am so tired to check on facebook, I don't thesedays though I admit some people who I knew at college got connected with them back through facebook. Still nothing beats personal relationship, a real one... I do use fb to network, spread news about events in the City... you have writen a fantastic article. Sometimes its stressful constantly seeing fb, eye strain, brain not processing information, that's the time YOU must disconnect from fb.

the little princess said...

Perfectly said! Indeed facebook de-addiction clinics have come in several places. It's so sad to see a roomful of people busy on their mobiles and not one person has time to 'talk' to each other normally!

Shubhangi @ The Little Princess

Irfanuddin said...

We often find people complaining about the usage of Mobile Phones and Computers, that these things are ruining their social life and it does irritate when you are pouring your heart out to someone and he/she keep on looking at his/her beeping phone...... Undoubtedly there has to be a balance of their usage , there are moments when we should just leave our phones and PCs for an uninterrupted human interaction.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Shalini, I still tend to get addicted to my phone apps turn by turn. But, if I notice myself spending several hours per day on a single app, for 3 consecutive days, I uninstall it from my phone. That's how I keep myself sane.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Sreesha, I also don't have the FB app on my phone currently. No social media app, actually. I find it better this way too.
As for my Dad, I think I'm going to have to delete the FB app from his phone one of these days! :p

Chicky Kadambari said...

Agree with everything you said, Stefinia. Nothing beats one-to-one conversations in real time.

Chicky Kadambari said...

You forgot restaurants, Princess! :P

Chicky Kadambari said...

Agree, Irfanuddin. It does get very annoying when the person you're trying to talk to is busy with his/her phone!

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