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For busy women, it sometimes feels as
though our success is measured by how
much we accomplish, and our ability to
multitask is a badge of honor. Yet new
research shows being wired 24 hours a
day may not be best for our brains. We
may, in fact, need a tech timeout.
Scientists at the University of California
found that rats exploring unfamiliar
areas showed new patterns of brain
activity, yet only during a break did
their brains process those patterns in
a way that created a memory. Similar
studies in people indicate major
sections of the brain activate during
downtime. This may be when brains
synthesize information, connect ideas
and even help us reconnect with
“Unplugging allows us to have
personal, natural connections,”
adds Donna Marie, professional
life coach and confidante of
“Communicating electronically,
you’re missing human interaction.
You even disconnect from yourself.
Constant digital stimulation and
multitasking dulls your senses,
and you lose mental clarity.”
One Wise Woman’s Experience
HAP member and Wayne State
University employee Denise Dejonghe,
50, of Fraser, teaches online, and she’s
usually within arm’s reach of her iPhone
and laptop. She and her husband
took a camping trip, unplugging
completely for four days. While it was
uncomfortable at first, they found it
brought them closer. “At first, the hardest thing for me was feeling that life
was going on without us. Reading a newspaper isn’t the same as real time
information on the Internet. You feel left out. My husband wanted to know
what was going on in sports. I was job hunting at the time, and I was worried
about missing a call. As it turned out, we really had to talk to each other. That’s
all you can do, without the distractions. We found it really great because you
can plan, set goals and discuss all the things you normally don’t take the time
to sit and talk about because you are so connected to technology.”
Do You Need a Tech Timeout?
Tips for a Tech Timeout:
Donna Marie suggests insisting that your family members
turn off
all digital devices,
including the TV, during family mealtime.
Give yourself 24 full hours of “off” time,
ideally from one evening
through the next.
Shut everything off …
computer, cell phone, iPod®, iPad®,
BlackBerry®, television.
Let people know you’re unplugging,
so they don’t expect you to
respond promptly and you don’t feel guilty.
Consider using some downtime to connect spiritually,
meditation or prayer.
Wise Advice