page-header-image

Tag: communication

4 Ways Technology Can Improve Your Relationships – A Conversation with Marla Mattenson

When you read the latest headlines, you’d think technology is the worst thing to happen to couples since… well, ever. After all, it takes our attention away from our partners, right?

Not so fast. It’s not all bad news. Marla Mattenson has a different perspective, and it’s quite empowering.

Technology and Relationships: Better Together?


Marla is an accomplished relationship & intimacy expert who specializes in coaching entrepreneurs.

With her background in neuroscience, she uses pattern recognition to reveal the negative habitual responses couples experience and how to change them.

technology and relationships
In her work with busy, tech-dependent professionals (and through personal experience), she began to see how technology, when used intentionally, can be a powerful tool to resolve conflict, build intimacy, and add a playful element to relationships.

Marla’s exciting insights about technology and relationships were the focus of her conversation with Robert Plotkin on the Technology for Mindfulness podcast.

Here are four practical tips from Marla on how to transform both your relationship and your business by using technology mindfully.

Four Ways to Improve Your Relationship Using Technology 

1. Send supportive messages throughout the day (but at the right time)


The hustle of building a business often means long days at the office and frequent travel.

Technology is the perfect way to stay in touch. But for most of us, our daily messages are more practical than loving.

“What time are you getting home?” and “Did you thaw the chicken?” aren’t what Marla has in mind.

Instead, she recommends adding some playfulness and support to let your partner know you’re thinking of them.

  • Tell them they’re gonna rock that big meeting with investors
  • Send a funny meme if they’re low on energy and need a laugh
  • Record a ten-second video message to tell your partner how awesome they are and that you miss them
  • Or simply send a sweet emoji


Marla adds one crucial caveat: send your messages at the right time. Share your calendars so you can see when your partner has downtime. After all, sending a high-five emoji for their big investor meeting isn’t as helpful when their phone pings right in the middle of it!

Knowing each other’s calendars helps you stay in sync with their daily challenges and offer thoughtful support at just the right time.

2. Keep track of meaningful conversations – and act on them!


Another way to stay in tune with your partner is to take note of important things they say.

Whether it takes place within an everyday chat or a deep, soul-searching conversation, they’re sharing their interests, hopes, and dreams. It might be:

  • People they miss and want to see
  • Places they want to go
  • Items they would love
  • Experiences they want to have
Marla suggests keeping track of these on your smartphone as they happen.

Your partner may already be on to their next project, wishing they could make time, but you can set things in motion… and surprise them!

For example, perhaps you’re driving by a restaurant, and they mention how much they’d like to expand their horizons when it comes to food.

You could hop on Yelp right then and make a reservation for somewhere you’ve never gone.

Feeling heard is tremendously powerful in a relationship. Technology can help you remember these little details, so you can show them you’re always listening.

3. Use technology to diffuse emotionally charged moments


Despite your best efforts, you won’t always be in sync with your partner.

When conflicts happen, typical relationship advice is to stay away from technology. After all, your partner might misunderstand.

A famous study by UCLA researcher Albert Mehrabian showed that we overwhelmingly react to others not by the actual words spoken, but by their body language and tone of voice.

This might seem like a valid reason not to use technology when you have a conflict. But Marla takes a different approach.

She and her partner Julian decided in advance that during an argument, they can only send connecting, positive messages. Nothing mean or insulting that they’ll regret later – or that will add fuel to the fire.

There are two benefits to this:

  1. Staying connected – You’re not completely blocking communication. For many couples, closing off contact altogether triggers feelings of abandonment, making them feel worse.
  2. Committing to kindness and love – Even though you may not like the person at that moment, you’re remembering that you do love them, and you’ll get through this difficulty.
Marla also added an insightful tip: When you’re angry and not ready to talk, just send an emoji. Something as simple as a heart will show your partner that you love them, but you need space.

By intentionally choosing how you’ll use technology during a conflict, you can avoid saying (or texting) hurtful words in the heat of the moment.

4. Bonus for brave couples – reflect negative statements back to your partner


Speaking of hurtful words, Marla also shared a practice couples may want to use if something negative slips out, whether or not you’re in the midst of an argument.

She cautioned that it requires a lot of trust and vulnerability, but the rewards can be significant.

If you say something that impacts your partner in a negative way, give them permission to text it back to you. This is a form of reflection.

However, by using technology, it’s especially powerful because the words are devoid of all body language and tone of voice.

When you read it, you can perceive how harsh or unpleasant it was for your partner to hear.

Naturally, this requires a bit of bravery. Your partner must avoid “taking the bait” and responding negatively. You need to be open to seeing an ugly part of yourself. And vice versa.

To see if you’re ready, have a loving conversation about how you can both dedicate yourselves to the truth, no matter how difficult, rather than feeling comfortable. For many entrepreneur couples, personal growth is a common goal. Practices like these bring you closer to your partner and help you both grow into your best selves.

Use technology to improve your relationship


When you’re intentional about both, technology and relationships don’t have to be competing priorities.

Ready to put these tips into practice? Marla welcomes questions and comments!

Thriving as an Entrepreneur in the Digital Age – 5 Lessons from Dr. Sherry Walling

Dr. Sherry Walling offers a unique perspective on entrepreneur burnout.

As both an accomplished clinical psychologist and the spouse of a serial tech entrepreneur, she’s combined insights from both roles and developed a much-needed resource called ZenFounder.

On a recent Technology for Mindfulness podcast, our founder Robert Plotkin interviewed Dr. Walling to learn more about her work.

They chatted about entrepreneur stress, how it’s made worse by the frenetic pace of technology, and her recommendations for founders (and their partners).
Continue reading Thriving as an Entrepreneur in the Digital Age – 5 Lessons from Dr. Sherry Walling

Positive, Negative and Neutral Posting on Social Media


We all know that the image people portray of themselves on social media is highly selective and curated. People often post only the information that paints them in a positive light and makes them seem as interesting as possible. As a result, their social media lives don’t always reflect their full reality.

Continue reading Positive, Negative and Neutral Posting on Social Media

Group Text Messaging: Productive or Annoying?


Trying to make plans with a group of people can be challenging. Obviously, everyone has their own schedule and it can be hard to coordinate a mutually convenient time for all of you to meet up.

Many of us turn to group text messaging as a quicker alternative to group email. However, receiving text messages in a particular thread or conversation with one or a group of people can quite simply be annoying — especially if you keep getting notifications within that thread!

Continue reading Group Text Messaging: Productive or Annoying?

How to Manage the Pull of Your Smartphone

Do you ever feel like your smartphone is calling to you even when it’s just sitting in your pocket not doing anything? When your phone beeps, vibrates, or buzzes, do you ask yourself, “Why is my phone doing this to me?!?”

Continue reading How to Manage the Pull of Your Smartphone

The Case For Adding “Call Me” Back To Your Vocabulary

When you pick up your phone, how often are you using it to actually do what itthe-case-for-adding-call-me-back-to-your-vocabulary was first intended for? How often are you actually talking on the phone? And I don’t mean talking via text, or email, or some other form of digital communication. I mean actually talking. Picking up the phone and calling someone.

If you’re like most people today, your answer is probably something like “very rarely.”
Continue reading The Case For Adding “Call Me” Back To Your Vocabulary

Technology Changes Us, And Generation Z Is Proof

We all know that each generation has different experiences, they grow up in a Technology Changes Us, And Generation Z Is Proofdifferent time, so it’s impossible not to! But is the latest generation, generation Z, missing out? Has their generation been destroyed by technology? We’ve all see the articles online saying things like “Millennials are killing fabric softener” or “Millennials are running the wine industry,” but what about the generation after them? The generation that is now beginning to reach early adulthood?

Generally, from generation-to-generation characteristics will change gradually. But Jean Twenge, a Psychology professor at San Diego State University, who has been studying the changes among generations for years, noticed a huge shift in the Z generation.

Continue reading Technology Changes Us, And Generation Z Is Proof

How be Happier & More Productive at Work This Week

Work is a place that we can easily feel stressed and overwhelmed. Maybe you How be Happier More Productive at Work This Weekhave multiple projects going at the same time or an impossibly short deadline that your boss wants you to meet. It’s happened to all of us at one point! The key to keeping calm under all this stress? Mindfulness.

When a workplace promotes mindfulness a few changes begin to happen. The entire company culture changes. The workplace begins to attract (and keep) the best employees. And performance within the company improves!

Continue reading How be Happier & More Productive at Work This Week

Ep. 7- Mark Bauerlein, Author of The Dumbest Generation: How Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans

Mark Bauerlein earned his doctorate in English at UCLA in 1988 & has taught at Mark BauerleinEmory since 1989, with a two-and-a-half year break in 2003-05 to serve as the Director, Office of Research & Analysis, at the National Endowment for the Arts. Apart from his scholarly work, he publishes in popular periodicals such as The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, TLS, and Chronicle of Higher Education. His latest book, “The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don ‘t Trust Anyone Under 30)“, is available for purchase online.

Continue reading Ep. 7- Mark Bauerlein, Author of The Dumbest Generation: How Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans

Ep. 5-Tiffany Shlain, Creator of the “Technology Shabbat”

For the past eight years, Emmy-nominated filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, her husband & two children have embraced “Technology Shabbat”, a modernized version of the Jewish day of rest, where they break away from digital screens & other technology for 24 hours. Shlain joins host Robert Plotkin to discuss how “Technology Shabbat” works & doesn’t prevent her & her husband from embracing technology in their everyday lives. Tiffany Shlain is an American filmmaker, author, & public speaker regarded as an internet pioneer for her work, including founding the Webby Awards, co-founding the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences & running the Moxie Institute Film Studio & Lab. She lives in Northern California with husband Goldberg whom she frequently collaborates with on art installations & other projects. Find more info on Tiffany Shlain’s “Technology Shabbat” at http://www.moxieinstitute.org/technology_shabbats.

Continue reading Ep. 5-Tiffany Shlain, Creator of the “Technology Shabbat”

Is Your Time Well Spent?

I know I’ve talked about this so many times before, but let me say it again for is-your-time-well-spentthose of you that are new to the blog or new to mindfulness: technology is taking over our minds.

Whether we realize it or not it’s happening. And a movement that goes by the name of Time Well Spent it looking that help change that! Fighting back against digital distraction. Asking technology companies to create app designs that “empower us and reduce pollution to our attention.”

Continue reading Is Your Time Well Spent?

Technology is Taking Over Minds Whether We Notice or Not

Technology is such an integral part of our lives, and as technology evolves and technology-is-taking-over-minds-whether-we-notice-or-notbecomes more useful, it also becomes more manipulative and addictive. And the things is, the creators of these technologies know that—they design their websites or apps to work in this way. Sometimes they do it unknowingly, but more often than not it’s something that’s purposely built into the design.

If we’re not mindful about how we’re using many of the technologies that are so prevalent in our lives, then it can be easy to let it control us.

Continue reading Technology is Taking Over Minds Whether We Notice or Not

Taking Control of Notifications to Take Back Your Attention

notificationsReceiving a reminder of an upcoming meeting or task from our smartphones can be a great way to remember to be somewhere to get something done on time.  All too often, however, our smartphones beep, flash, and vibrate at us every few minutes to provide us with information we don’t really need.  And we know that regaining our attention after such a distraction can take ten minutes or more, particularly if we were engaged in deep thought when interrupted.

Continue reading Taking Control of Notifications to Take Back Your Attention

A Technological Trick for Avoiding Mindless Meetings

mindless meetings

A good meeting can energize people, refocus a team, and strengthen interpersonal connections.  A bad meeting can suck the energy out of a room and leave everyone feeling frustrated and exhausted.  No wonder that corporate meetings are the bane of office workers and are an endless source of humor for comedians and sitcom writers.

Continue reading A Technological Trick for Avoiding Mindless Meetings

Technological Distractions are a Bug, Not a Feature

Technological Distractions are a Bug, Not a Feature

I can’t count how many times I have heard the following responses to a complaint about how technology can distract us:

  • “You can’t turn back the clock.”
  • “If you find it distracting, just turn it off.”
  • “It’s the price we pay for the benefits of technology.”

Continue reading Technological Distractions are a Bug, Not a Feature

6 Ways Mindfulness Can Change Us

 

mindfulness changes

If there’s one thing that I could confidently say can impact every single aspect of our lives (work, health, relationships, etc.) its mindfulness, but in our crazy lives mindfulness can be lost.

Being more mindful can affect multiple aspects of our lives. Whatever you’re putting your energy into doing right now could be affected, and improved, with a little bit of thoughtfulness.

Continue reading 6 Ways Mindfulness Can Change Us

Learn to Practice Mindfulness at Work

Learn to Practice Mindfulness at Work

Do you ever feel aimless and unfocused at work? Do you leave the office at the end of the day feeling like you got nothing accomplished? If so, you are not alone. New research shows that people spend almost 47 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing. In other words, many of us operate on autopilot.

Continue reading Learn to Practice Mindfulness at Work

What’s Worthy of Your Time?

 

What’s Worthy of Your Time?

In two of our recent blogs we talked about distraction and the theories behind why we as a society are so distracted—the two oldest theories, and one new theory—but how can we combat distraction?

Continue reading What’s Worthy of Your Time?

The Third Theory of Distraction: Is There a Solution?

The Third Theory of Distraction: Is There a Solution?

In our previous post Two Theories of Distraction: Is it Becoming a Bigger Issue?, we talked about the two oldest and biggest theories of distraction: spiritual and material distraction. But there’s a new theory of distraction that’s been brought to light by Matthew Crawford in his new book “The World Beyond Your Head: Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction.”

Continue reading The Third Theory of Distraction: Is There a Solution?

Two Theories of Distraction: Is it Becoming a Bigger Issue?

Two Theories of Distraction: Is it Becoming a Bigger Issue?

Distraction, it’s something that happens to all of us in today’s modern society. It can be enjoyable at times (scrolling though Facebook while waiting for a flight), but it can also lead to some terrible situations (scrolling though Facebook while driving).

Continue reading Two Theories of Distraction: Is it Becoming a Bigger Issue?

A Sneaky Way to Eliminate Technological Distractions at the Dinner Table

Have you ever sat down with your family for dinner, only to be faced with the glare of smartphones from everyone at the table?  If so, then Dolmio Australia claims to have a technological solution to the problem:

Continue reading A Sneaky Way to Eliminate Technological Distractions at the Dinner Table

Smiling Practice at a Legal Conference

This weekend I am attending a legal conference with 10,000 intellectual property attorneys from nearly every country in the world.  It is a great opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and to begin to form new relationships.

Continue reading Smiling Practice at a Legal Conference

Nattch Offers a Social Networking System with Reduced Distractions

Nattch is an online social networking system that only allows users to post updates about their actual lives–no links to other information on the Internet allowed.  The goal is to limit posts to information about users themselves, and to eliminate the clutter and temptation of links to external–and usually irrelevant–information.

Continue reading Nattch Offers a Social Networking System with Reduced Distractions

Too Bad Law Firm’s Mindful Email Policy Was Just an April Fool’s Joke

The law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges sent an email to its employees on April 1 stating that electronic messages would not be transmitted by the firm’s servers late at night or be delivered to employees while on vacation.  Seems like a reasonable and respectful way to counter the constant need for connectivity among professionals, in an effort to reduce stress and improve health and well-being, right?

Continue reading Too Bad Law Firm’s Mindful Email Policy Was Just an April Fool’s Joke

The average cellphone user touches their phone 2,617 times a day.

The average cellphone user touches their phone 2,617 times a day.

Sign up to receive a free, 5 minute guided meditation that helps you gain control over your smartphone, instead of being controlled by it. 

You will receive our free 5 minute meditation soon!