We created a FREE 30 day challenge to slow down that includes daily reminders, a private Facebook community for everyone who joins, and daily podcasts to help explain why each activity can help make you happier, less stressed and living a slower, relaxed life!
This Challenge starts August 1st, 2019 and will be LIVE with real-time comments in FB and daily reminders/guidance to keep on track
Sign up below with an email address you check often. All the info and resources will be sent to the email you use below.
Just think, by the end of August, you will have formed a new habit, one of slowing down and enjoying life. Are you ready??
We had the pleasure of spending a few days in the Smoky Mountains this week. Our camping spot was nice and quiet with a stream running behind it which we could hear when the windows to our camper were open. We were feeling pretty zen…enjoying nature and even forest bathing! A perfect time to actually slow down and enjoy life and each other, Yavas-Yavas.
But we are human after all, and sometimes even in the perfect setting to slow down your life, we can be faced with challenges to speed up and move along. Some of these thoughts come from inside of our busy brains and some come from other people. Today, as we were enjoying a 2.7 mile hike to a waterfall we saw beautiful, unique things in nature and took pictures of them. We came across an awesome stump that had been pecked by a woodpecker and eaten by bugs so much that they had created a hole the size of a fist so that you could see all the way through it, into the woods beyond. I was so captured by the stump that I wanted to take a picture through the hole and was certain it would be a unique shot that we could look back on over the years recalling when we were hiking in the Smoky’s. The trail we were on was narrow, full of tree roots and rocks. Often when we met someone coming towards us, either they scooted to the side or we did, as the trail seemed to want people to walk in single file. When people quickly came up from behind we let them pass so we could enjoy the walk and not feel pressure to walk faster.
And so it was when I spotted the cool see-through stump. I could hear people coming behind us so I told my husband we can stop and take the picture of the stump on the way back, lets just keep walking now so we don’t slow down the people behind us. That statement right there…’don’t slow down the people behind us’…is a problem. If I truly believe that I need to slow down, that it’s good for my health and makes life more enjoyable…I should be helping others to slow down as well…not just in a blog post, but in real life every day. In an overly dramatic way, you could say I robbed the other people of an opportunity to slow down and take in the wonder of a forest in the mountains.
My husband and I enjoyed the waterfall, walking behind it, climbing on large rocks and downed trees to get closer to the rushing water. And even though we kept looking for the see-through stump on the way back, we never saw it again. We were coming at it from a different angle and somehow we missed it. Even though we were sure we would be able to take a picture on the way back. I realize it’s only a picture…if we really wanted to, we could walk that trail again tomorrow and probably find it again on the way up to the waterfall. But that’s not the point. I was reminded today to stop and smell the roses (or take a picture of a see-through stump) because the next time you come that way, your point of view might be different and you just might not notice it the second time around.
You might be surprised how easy it is to inspire others. Sometimes just posting a picture of the beauty you found during your evening walk is enough to motivate and inspire someone to go for a walk.
Do you like to do yoga? Play golf? Run? Whatever you like to do…let others know about it! Bring friends with you, post about it on social media or get a window decal for your car boasting about what you are passionate about! You might just help change someone’s life by encouraging them to find a healthy passion too.
I recently started making vinyl decals for my car and laptop that represent the healthy lifestyle I like to lead. Its my way of putting it out into the Universe, that I like to Kayak, do Yoga, go camping and ride bicycles. The more I see the decals, the more my brain is thinking about those activities. That’s a good thing!
If you are interested in telling the Universe and your friends that you are passionate about something, you may want to put a temporary vinyl decal on your laptop cover or window of your car, home or office. The decals can be removed if needed, but they should stay nicely put for about 3 years.
I tried to build a case for needing a Technology Diet in my previous post Technology Diet (Pt 1), but it shouldn’t take much convincing!
It might not be too much of a surprise that a few new techno-neuroses have entered into our ‘always connected’ culture. Ringxiety and Phantom Vibration are 2 phenomenons being researched. A person is said to have ‘ringxiety’ when they confuse the sound of their cellphone with another, similar sound in the environment. Actually, I think the ‘xiety’ part is when there is anxiousness connected to the mistaken ring. Phantom Vibration is when someone feels the vibration of cell phone when it is not vibrating. (You may want to read more about Ringxiety and Phantom Vibration. https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/ringxiety.htm)
This is probably a good time to mention that having a neurosis from the use of technology, is a serious issue! A technology diet is not necessarily meant for someone who is addicted and/or has severe anxiety if they can’t use technology. This post is not meant to diagnose or even help ‘cure’ technology addiction. If you or someone you know shows symptoms of being a tech addict, please seek medical help from a reputable Behavioral Psychologist.
If you would like to try to find the balance between technology and real life…be able to think deeply about things again, actively listen to conversations and even get a good night’s sleep, then try out some the calming activities listed below to see if they help to ‘reset’ your brain.
These calming activities don’t take long (minimally 5-10 minutes) and for the most part they are free and enjoyable. Some might say old fashioned.
They are especially helpful for transitioning from heavy use of technology (30 minutes or more of your mind focused on technology) to real life activities (such as driving, attending a meeting at work, actively listening to conversations, being creative and making something and more). Heavy use of technology differs for each person, but a good rule of thumb is using technology such as gaming, skimming Facebook, Instagram, or other social media as well as YouTube and Pinterest or just texting people while you are trying to get other work done, etc…for more than 30 minutes without a break.
Ready for some calming activities? What these activities have in common are that they use different parts of the brain than what is used when we are focusing on technology! The pre frontal cortex of our brain is responsible for, among other things, quick decision making. Think about it…how many quick decisions do we make when skimming Facebook or playing a video/online game? While meditation actually allows the frontal cortex to ‘unplug’ or chill out, thus allowing you to unwind and feel calm. If you aren’t into meditation (you really should be) there are other activities that use parts of the brain that allow you to calm. Here are some good ones:
Learning a foreign language (example) ** Even if you are older, the benefits of learning a second language are tremendous, including warding off Alzheimer’s.
Looking at art (example) ** The enjoyment and act of creating art typically activates the right hemisphere of the brain, again giving the frontal cortex a break.
Laughing (examples) **releases endorphins which give you a natural high and even temporarily relieve pain.
Talking to a friend (4 positive comments to every negative) or even a pet can release oxytocin, endorphin and dopamine…more natural highs
Walking in nature (even virtual)example)**) Walking in general can help creativity. Walking in nature (hiking) decreases activity in the pre frontal cortex.
We can’t escape it! Sometimes, even if we tell ourselves or others to put the technology away…we/they are still thinking about it. How many of us reach for our phones at stop lights? How many of us can just do one quick thing on their cell phone or tablet without it leading to checking on other things?
Brain research tells us we need to a break from technology. We need to sleep more/better, we need to reset our brains. And just like with any diet, there are better ways to implement good technology habits in our lives.
There is definitely differences in the way each generation has grown up with technology.
Each generation has been given a name (the names vary a little depending on the source), but here are the ones I’m going to use in this post:
Generation X (Lost Generation)
Net Generation (First to have computer access)
iGeneration (Internet, ipod, ipad, iphone)
Generation C (Connected, creative, collaborative)
Which generation are you? I actually feel like I belong in Generation C because I’m connected, creative and collaborative…but I’m a Baby Boomer. And I’m hooked on technology! There…I said it. Admitting it is half the battle. However, I’m armed with tools that help me fight my struggle. These tools can work for you as well as your family and friends!
We actually need to reset our brains. We may think we are multitasking when we have our nose in our phones but we are not. We are only partially attending to the world when we are skimming Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or YouTube.
We all tend to have FOMO…Fear Of Missing Out. Who is liking our Facebook or Instagram posts? Let me look for a way to make a fun birthday cake on Pinterest. Have you seen how cute these baby kittens are? TIME OUT!
Even those in the Silent Generation (born before 1946) are hooked on their smart phones. I’m not sure if they are juggling a lot of social media sites like the iGeneration and Generation C but I still see them at restaurants looking at their cell phones while they are waiting for their meals to come to their tables. Its an epidemic and we all need help!
Surely you have felt it…the drain of brain power. You don’t really know things deeply…just surface level. For us in the older generations…Generation X, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation…we remember when there were only 3 major channels that came on TV, and they signed off at night. Our phone was attached to a wall and for the lucky ones, a 6 foot cord. That was the time that we knew things deeply. We had the time to work on things, learn things, think about them for a while. There were no distractions.
We need to only look back to that time to find the answer to our brain drain. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to live in a house without TV or WiFi. The thought of that causes a slight panic to rise…or is it nausea? And if you stop having WiFi at your house I’m pretty sure you won’t see much of your kids or grandkids!
What do you think it will take to get your brain to reset? What do you need to feel calm, peaceful and productive? What can you do that won’t alienate yourself from family and friends?