A sizable number of people responded to a previous post where I posed the question “when is it time to unplug?” and the evidence keeps mounting that while technology is a help for us, it also aids in creating additional stress in our lives. So, I decided to follow-up with additional points on ways to de stress by letting go of technology in programed ways.


I have continually emphasized creating relaxation islands by taking small breaks of five to ten minutes where you allow yourself to get away from the problems of the project, people complaining about their own gripes, or just the constant flow of emails, tweets, and phones ringing. Getting outside is the best but most office buildings now have atrium areas that can work just as well. Tell the people in the office you’re going to get  a coffee and take advantage of the down time to walk among the trees or other greenery that can help to clear your head and allow you to detox.

Don’t take the ringing of your phone or a text message as a command to respond when you are in your detox period. It is better if you just leave all communication devices behind to allow the process to work. Five or ten minutes, I hope, willnot the end world but will make a world of difference in your attitude when you return. While you are there think about a time when you were really relaxed or simply having a great time. Use that as your escape image and allow yourself to begin slow rhythmic deep breathing. Oxygen is a natural relaxant, use it!

Next, try to get an understanding of which devices create what kind of stress. Understanding your trigger points in relation to communication is a great starting point. I was reading a newspaper article recently where the author was beat over the head by commentators for saying he will only speak with his mother on his cell phone during certain hours. It made perfect sense to me because she could reach him anywhere, but also knows she has a limited amount of time to get her message across. If you know that your best time to accomplish things is in the morning set no call, no text time zones. This is important because every interruption requires at least fifteen minutes to get back to the level of concentration you had before the communication.


Another feature that we often take for granted but is vitally important is sleep. Recent studies have shown that two or more hours of exposure to backlit devices(tablets and IPads) suppresses melatonin, the hormone that helps us regulate sleep. While not foolproof, make your bedroom a place for sleep only which triggers a response to sleep once you enter that room. Also, try setting a time about an hour before bedtime to turn off things like computers and tablets to give yourself time to simply unwind.

All of these suggestions may seem like small things, but it is the cumulative effect of small things related to our devices that helps generate stress. Removing or altering one of two of them not only helps to improve your health but also creates more balance in your life.

And now, I need to turn off this computer…