Managing Digital Stress

Let’s face it, the digital world is here to stay, an unavoidable consequence of an ever-changing, fast paced, paperless society.

But what are the consequences? What’s the real pay off in terms of health, time, relationships, emotional wellbeing, energy…?

Hi, this is Andrew Arnold from the Million Dollar Wellness and today I want to focus, or should I say, un-focus on the tech side of our practice.

I while back I agonized over whether to purchase an i-watch. On the one hand, awesome tech, super convenient, super connected…however intrusive, irritating, annoying, anxiety provoking…

What I’ve noticed in myself over this past 5-10 years is increasing anticipatory anxiety. I’m constantly anticipating that next email, text message…and with that anticipation becoming hyper-reactional. With notifications coming at me left, right and center I’ve found myself fearing bad news rather than hoping or even expecting great news!

In the consultation room, I don’t have a phone however, I feel compelled to check my watch just in case something ‘important’ has come thru and despite turning my watch too silent. My irrational mind thinks if I just check at say 11 am this will alleviate potential stress during my lunch break.

The problem is increasing levels of anticipation and anxiety. I started becoming obsessive and a work-a-holic. I figured if I kept on top of all my lists, all my emails, all my texts…responding as soon as they came in…then the anticipation levels would lessen.

WRONG!

It got worse and worse!

My body started to let me know. Insomnia, eye strain, headaches. This was followed with more severe headaches, neck, and back pain and then neuralgia, flu symptoms, anxiety attacks and eventually a cracked tooth probably from the excessive grinding!

Furthermore, I was checked out from my family, buried in my work till late nightly.

Sure, I was on top of everything, had all my notifications set perfectly, super organised but the cost? Well, it just wasn’t worth it.

I was reflecting on this problem with my teenage kids recently, comparing their lives now with when I was their age, not an uncommon conversation I’m sure.

I recalled that all my student days including university was pre-internet and although at times it was hard work researching and finding information, it was uncomplicated and peaceful. I would go off to the library to study and not hear a single beep or ring or be interrupted by just about anything.

Kids today, have become hyper-vigilant, hyper-attentive in much the same way as we, as adults are becoming.

The problem is, adult brain neuro-plasticity is not as adaptive as a teen, and we didn’t have the benefit of accommodating technology growing up.

So, as wellness practitioners whilst we need to embrace the tech world, awesome, we need to also come back into the room.

Our clients know when you are distracted. As soon as you sense an email or message that needs attention, your attention goes there.

I now leave all tech outside the room. I instruct my reception to hold everything until I’ve finished my shift unless super important, e.g. family crisis. I set specific times to check my emails each day, 8 am, 12 pm and 6 pm. I turn all my tech to ‘do not disturb’ between 6pm-7am. We have a ‘no-tech’ 9pm-9am rule at home. I chose short meditations rather than short tech breaks. And I avoid jumping on my PC in my room in between patients unless it’s for meditation or specific research.

It’s about taking back control by letting it go.

If this is elevating your anxiety just thinking about this, just breathe. Your health, your family and your clients will thank you for it.

About the author:

Dr. Andrew Arnoldis a Chiropractor and Naturopath, and ACTP accredited Business Coach at Million Dollar Wellness.

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