The Digital Age: Life, Uninterrupted

Here are some thoughts that may help you imagine ways to take the digital breaks you need to enjoy all … Continued

Here are some thoughts that may help you imagine ways to take the digital breaks you need to enjoy all … Continued


Here are some thoughts that may help you imagine ways to take the digital breaks you need to enjoy all aspects of your life fully and without interruption.

The desire to stay undistracted

It’s important to mention that the following strategies for combating chronic distraction are untenable without the determination to step away from the internet entirely for the time that you’ve decided to commit. In short, none of the activities below are possible without completely relinquishing your grip on the digital world for some time.

It’s difficult when you’re busy. Time is hard to find. No magical solution or time-turner exists, but this following is true. You don’t find time; you make time. It’s a question of priorities.

A great way to make time to put these ideas into action is to make these activities a regular part of your schedule. For example, if you meditate to clear your mind of distraction, set aside a regular time to do so once a day or once a week.

Consider the following list of ideas for fighting the unwelcome effects of engaging in online communication. The rest is up to you. Also, the activities below do not have to take up countless hours. Feel free to pick, choose, and modify the ones that work for you.

Strategies for unplugging

  • Read a hardback or paperback book. Getting off the computer can create opportunities to share something wonderful, and reading books is a great way to exercise and develop networks of new neural pathways in your brain. According to Nicholas Carr of “The Shallows,” this growth can aid in building neural circuits to “crisscross” the cortex, traveling between areas of the brain devoted to memory, visual and conceptual processing, and decision making.
  • Go on a walk, meditate, or find a way that works for you to take yourself into a quieter head-space. Use this time to clear your mind and you’ll be surprised at how a brief foray into tranquility can carry peace and clarity into all parts of your life.
  • Devote time to your hobbies, whether you write, knit, play board games, cook, drink coffee, dance, run, sing, bird-watch, star-gaze, or whittle tiny figurines for pleasure. Many of these activities can enhance your visualization skills, which, according to research by Tracy Alloway, can support visual-spatial and verbal working memory. Whether you seek serenity or release of energy and whether you do this in your me-time or your we-time is up to you, both can make lasting, powerful changes in your relationship with yourself and with your partner.
  • Go into nature alone or together. It’s probably the most direct and effective way to take a break and reconnect deeply and profoundly with the living, breathing world, yourself, and your partner. If you have limits in time or mobility, try a walk in the park, a trip to the beach, a jaunt into the woods. You don’t have to travel far from home to go on an adventure in the great outdoors.
  • Get out of town without your tablets and laptops. Leave the cell phones turned off. If you take a break from the tiny virtual world, you will enjoy the real world in all of its glory.

Whatever you do, try to find some peace. Finding balance and developing your attunement to the world can allow you to experience harmony.

A final thought

The Internet is useful and can be a wonderful tool for work and for play. it is a powerful tool that, if abused, can leave you distracted and isolated. This blog post and the series therein help you learn how to use this tool in a responsible way so it enhances your life, not disconnects you from it.

Read more on the Digital Age blog series.

Ellie Lisitsa is a former staff writer at The Gottman Institute and editor for The Gottman Relationship Blog.