In fact, you could even make this a golden rule for yourself, and, if you're feeling empowered, you can ask those you're with to do the same. You can back up your request with the knowledge you've gained by reading this article. For instance, we now know the importance of shared experiences and that sharing lived experiences with our friends and family deepens our attachments and builds memories. With this in mind, sharing real-life experiences while answering texts, responding to e-mails, or posting on social media is counterproductive. Finally, lots of articles have been written about the phenomenon phubbing--the act of looking at your iPhone while in the physical presence of another. Although phubbing might sound inconsequential, phubbing shows us how technology diminishes our social interactions rather than enhancing them. A recent study examining the psychological drives behind phubbing--such as Internet addiction, FOMO, poor self-control, and smartphone addiction--found that those individuals scoring high on assessments for Internet addiction, FOMO, and low self-control or frustration tolerance tended to phub more. In other words, those that frequently looked at their iPhone when in the presence of another person struggled with FOMO, had low levels of self-control, and overused technology. So much of our life does not require us to do that. In his film The Fourth Phase, Travis Rice said he's no longer going to be helicoptered onto a peak because he wants to be able to know the mountain well enough to climb it before he descends. The only way he's going to do that is to ascend the mountain on his own, even though it might take a week to summit and he might then snowboard down in a matter of minutes. But his driving force is now learning more about the environment he's performing in. You might not be carving new powder on a mountainside like Travis, but you can enrich your exercise experiences by finding new activities that are fun and are difficult or impossible to quantify. If you're a numbers person who still needs to get a simple quantification fix, then just set a goal related to the frequency of such an activity, like, I'm going to surf three times a week this summer. Anxious and Baffling Times We're living in a constant state of high anxiety. From the fear-driven television news we watch to the alarmism of political bloggers to the fear of missing out that perpetuates our need to update others on our every action and simultaneously look at theirs, so much of our environment is making us twitchy. The trouble is that our body doesn't know the difference between real and perceived threats when it comes to stress and the negative, multisystemic effects it has on inflammation, the pituitary-adrenal axis, and so much more. Yet I was completely unnerved by this question--and that was its intent. The lawyer cannily invoked the stigma associated with my body and gender identity specifically to undermine my confidence and show the arbitrator that I was less than.

It was a reminder: You're trans. Know your place. The intent was to shock me, and thereby shift the power dynamic between us in a case he knew he couldn't win, and hopefully turn me into a bad witness for myself. The intent, too, was to evoke the assumed prejudice of the arbitrator. Sadly, it worked to destabilize me. We didn't even get past the deposition to the arbitration stage. Eliciting my own internalized oppression was enough. A lifetime of stigma and discrimination plus internalized shame and pain flooded me. Furthermore, phubbing is likely to be a symptom of digital overuse. And digital overuse erodes our real-life relationships. Building warm and secure relationships takes work--just like anything else worth having in life. It's important to understand that having relationships doesn't mean your relationship will be perfect and without conflict. It means that you'll be more skillfully able to work out conflicts in ways that deepen bonds rather than dissolve them. But the truth of the matter is that, for many, and for a multitude of reasons, having secure relationships is difficult. For example, someone who grew up in a dysfunctional family and never learned how to have close and trusting relationships may push people away or do and say hurtful things to prevent closeness. And others may use technology or social media as a stand-in for intimacy and in place of intimate relationships. If this sounds like you, talking to a professional can help you figure out how your screen use is stopping you from developing healthier relationships. Although asking for help can be more difficult for some of us than it is for others, being able to acknowledge that we need help can improve our relationships. As Dave Asprey writes in Head Strong, many of us are in a constant state of emergency. Constantly monitoring our bodies is heightening our anxiety even more.

As Wired contributor Jon Mooallem put it in a March 2017 article about how wearables often strain relationships, we can quickly become bedeviled by the cycle of incentivizing and disincentivizing, of judgment and anxiety, afflicting you: that feeling that you can never take enough steps or unlock enough REM sleep. Movement is supposed to provide a release valve for the stresses of our crowded, overstimulating busy days. So why do we make the very thing that's meant to be calming and cathartic into yet another stressor by continually looking down at our wrists to check our pace and progress? As anxious as wearables can make us when they're attached to us, some argue that we're even more worried if we have to do without them for any length of time after we're hooked. In an insightful article for Inc. We've all experienced the angst associated with our mobile phones dying, but this is even worse. And, if you really want to go cold turkey' just see how hard it is to put your device on the bed stand one morning and try toleave home without it. I completely agree with Tullman's premise here, but I believe that you can actually go wearables-free for a day or two, and, for the sake of your stress levels and overall health, you must, at least once in a while. Angry and unhinged, I started stumbling over my words. My hesitation and sudden inability to explain myself in the deposition made me look like I was confused about the basic facts of my case. Hearing myself speak was like hearing a stranger. I speak from stages for a living and had long considered myself articulate, but suddenly I was having trouble finding words and even focusing. The settlement the insurance company came back with was far less than I'd anticipated or deserved. It was also far less than my attorney anticipated prior to the deposition. What does it tell us when a person who has spent decades practicing and teaching people to find their power can be so threatened as to lose the ability to communicate and advocate for themselves? It tells us that shame reinforces inequity. That it can be deployed against us, as both cause and result of social exclusion. It shows us shame's political and economic effects--which is why the current conversation on body positivity doesn't quite do it justice or give us the tools for navigating it. When we share our burdens, we create intimacy, and we know that intimacy leads to more satisfying relationships. When we ask for help, we communicate to others that while we may not have all the answers, we are willing to seek them out and find solutions to our problems, which creates an atmosphere of empowerment.

It connects us to other people by making us realize that we are not alone in our struggles. Ultimately, we grow emotionally when we gain the ability to ask for help. Skill-Building Strategies Below are a few tips to help you balance virtual relationships and real-life relationships. Ask yourself why you are using social-networking sites. Is it to build relationships, for professional-networking purposes, to connect to old friends, or to stay connected to those that live far away? Once you determine what you are looking for, you can set realistic goals. Limit your time on social-networking sites. If you do, try to be mindful of your mental and emotional state during planned workouts and normal movement-related activities, like walking to the mailbox or around your office building. I'll wager that once you overcome the discomfort of not having your device on your wrist, you'll feel calmer and less anxious. Once you get to this point, put the wearable back on, try it again for a couple of days, and compare how you feel. If you prefer having it back then keep it around, but if you feel worse than during your trial separation, maybe it's time to consider a permanent breakup. Searching for Stillness One of the antidotes to the poison of tech-induced anxiety is to disconnect and get out in nature for long enough that you start to feel comfortable not checking your activity score or calories-burned total. Here's Lenny Wiersma with a profound case study. Every summer I take a couple of backpacking trips. I met a neighbor while out walking my dog and after we got to know each other a little, asked him if he'd like to come too. He was really excited about it, even though he'd never been camping or slept in a tent. My attorney advised me to take the inadequate settlement. I'd performed so poorly in the deposition, he said, that we had no hope of securing what the case was really worth.

And if I refused the offer and proceeded with further legal action, he would not represent me. Anxious just to end the ordeal, I agreed. Transphobia was winning. But when I learned that the settlement would come with a nondisclosure (confidentiality) agreement, my response was visceral. I know from my work and personal experience how important testimony is to our ability to heal from stigma and discrimination, and how harmful it can be to keep our abusers' secrets. Silence allows the shame to grow and the oppression to persist. I knew I needed to be free to tell this story, not just for my own recovery and well-being, but to support others in recognizing the challenges transgender people face. I couldn't sign off on that. This will help control the amount of time you are spending online. Make sure to include texts or private messages in your repertoire of computer-mediated communications. This level of virtual communication is more personal and intimate than communicating in an open forum. Make sure to schedule time to see your friends and family beyond the virtual world. As we're learning, having positive, secure relationships is strongly associated with high levels of self-esteem and resilience. Relationships of this kind foster feelings of connectedness and decrease our risk for depression and anxiety. Recommendation #2: Set Virtual Boundaries Does any of this sound familiar? I feel guilty if I don't immediately respond to someone on social media instead of doing my work, even though I know it will distract me! It takes me longer to get the simplest tasks done because I take so many tech breaks to check e-mails, read the news, or play Candy Crush instead of just powering through and getting my important work done! On the seven-hour drive to Mount Whitney he was checking his phone almost constantly. The first couple of days he seemed worried.