Health & Family

Don’t let technology take over your life

Do you feel compelled to check email every 10 minutes? Or, do you compulsively text as you eat, wait for a movie to start, or sit at red lights?

If so, your laptop, smartphone, or tablet might be controlling more aspects of your life than you can imagine.

According to John O'Neill, director of addictions services for the Menninger Clinic in Houston, some people are as addicted to personal electronics as junkies are to drugs.

To break the addiction of loving electronic devices too much, try these tips:

▪ Start noticing how much time you’re investing. It won’t take long to figure out that you might be spending two-three hours or more just checking email each day.

▪  Make a list of people and activities you’re neglecting. For example, have you gotten behind on visiting family members or helping your favorite civic club? Investing face time in great people is likely the greatest investment of your life. Just ask anyone who’s lonely and confined to a nursing home.

▪  Find ways to comfort yourself outside of technology. Most of us carry our tablets or phones, so we can connect with people and ideas. Taking a walk with someone or playing a board game with others are two ways to comfort yourself and nurture someone else as well.

▪  Be sure to give yourself a 90-minute break from gadgets every night, if possible. Use that time to steer clear of technology altogether. Read a book, pet your dog, or take a drive with your mate. Give your brain time to relax and focus on something new and different.

▪ Keep a notebook to track new activities that are replacing your excessive time spent with devices. Work hard to enrich your life, not just distract yourself with gadgets.