3 Easy Ways to Use Technology to Help Your Happiness

There are risks and benefits to our myriad personal tech options. Make sure yours is serving an authentically positive life.

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Posted in , Mar 21, 2022

Tech frustration

“Technology is great….until it isn’t.” This is a refrain I often mutter to myself or to someone else when a glitch of any kind keeps a phone, computer, tablet or cash register from performing its appointed function.

Technology is also great, until it isn’t, when it comes to its impact on our emotional lives. Constant buzzing, chiming or ringing in our pockets can be distracting and even, if they leave us feeling left out socially or behind in our schedules, demoralizing. Try these easy practices to check in with your tech to ensure it is serving your authentically positive life.

1)  Make Reminders Work for You
Daily “push” notifications can remind you to be consistent with a positive habit, like keeping a gratitude journal or doing a daily puzzle. But sometimes apps ping you to do more clicking and scrolling—that serves the app, not your positive lifestyle. A notification that says, “Great job today—let’s try to log in twice tomorrow!” is what one writer refers to as “architected pressure,” and it can be harmful to your well-being. If your apps are nagging you, adjust your notification settings to get some space.

2)  Minimize Your Digital Footprint
Psychologists have studied the phenomenon of switching rapidly between tasks all day, using the term “attention residue” to describe the negative impact mindless multi-tasking has on the brain. This issue can contribute to cognitive fogginess, fatigue and other challenges. None of that serves your happiness. So take an inventory of your digital footprint and ask yourself what could help focus your screen time so the tech you do use is helpful, brings you joy, teaches you something or keeps you connected with loved ones. Everything that doesn’t meet those criteria can go the way of the digital “trash” pile. 

3)  Find the Bright Side of Glitches
Sometimes, things are going to go sideways on our devices. We might run out of storage. We might download a software update that crashes something in an unexpected way. Or a website or program might fail while we’re in the middle of working. We can’t—and shouldn’t—pretend those moments aren’t frustrating and draining. But we can also find ways to attach a positive aspect to the experience, like the unwanted-but-still-helpful break we ended up taking from a project or the chance to start fresh with a long list of saved links or emails.

What technologies serve your positive lifestyle?

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