Balance Technology And Humanity For An Abundant Life
Written by Camille Lucy
Technology is always advancing and the younger generations are more involved and adept with its use than perhaps older generations. Even still, technology has landed in the hands of just about everyone: from wee little babe to Great grandma's (so impressive!). While technology is a superb tool to help us connect instantly all over the world, with information at our fingertips and giving us the ability to feed our growing need for instant gratification, it has its drawbacks. Especially on our young ones.
With so much screen time, less time is left for in-person communication and the development of people skills, real world skills and a deep connection with Mother Earth. This affects adults and children alike. As parents, we are direct role models for our children. What we do, they learn. Monkey see, monkey do. The lesson here is to be mindful of your choices and habits, and teach by example.
Below are 7 ways to help you focus on real and simple living by balancing out today’s hustle and bustle with the charm (and benefits!) of bringing back the way it was “back in the day”:
1. Explore The Great Outdoors
With so much time spent indoors, on our various devices like smartphones, computers and gaming, we often miss out on the nourishment that Mother Earth provides us.
Scientific studies have concluded that time outside can improve the following
- short term memory,
- restore mental energy,
- provide stress relief,
- reduce inflammation,
- improve vision and concentration,
- sharpen thinking and creativity,
- boost the immune system and mental health
Outdoor activities like gardening increase your happiness and wellbeing, not to mention improving your sleep. Spending time under the Sun boosts your body’s Vitamin D supply which promotes bone growth and prevents illness.
Have work deadlines or can’t put the smartphone down? No worries, bring it outside with you to soak up some rays!
Taking it one step farther, kick your shoes off and walk barefoot (also known as “earthing”) on any natural surface such as dirt or grass. This is proven to reduce chronic pain and inflammation, increase energy, reduce stress and muscle tension and improve overall body healing.
If you have little ones, play outside with them on the grass! Remember all outdoors sports and activities also boast the added benefits that exercise and movement bring mind, body and soul.
2. Join Meetup Groups!
Have passions, hobbies and interests? Awesome. There’s a meetup group for that! A strong sense of community is great for your well-being. Join others with shared interests, make connections, network, find support and do the things you love… outside of the home or office!
You can sharpen your skill and knowledge, learn from others how they do, what they do and in turn share your story. You can even find jobs in the area of your interests, grow your social media and make great business contacts. Meetups are a great outlet for finding company with likeminded people. You can relax, unwind, have great conversation, be yourself and enjoy the things you already love.
There are plenty of groups for all you Mums and Dads out there that need some “adult time” and interaction while the kids play!
If there is a need…there’s a Meetup!
3. Become More Mindful
A mindful practice like meditation, yoga or tai chi (often called meditation in motion), filters stress out of the body. For all of you that think you are too busy: a dedicated meditation practice can be done in 10-20 minutes, twice a day, to receive the full benefits but can still have benefits even if it is done in as little as 30 seconds. Studies show improvements in the mental, emotional, physical and social health and wellbeing of children and adults that practice mindfulness.
Some more specific benefits include:
- Improved ability to focus,
- Improve memory and mental clarity,
- Reduction in stress,
- Anxiety and reactivity,
- Better behavior and emotional management,
- Increased self esteem,
- Quicker to calm down and relax when upset,
- Increased empathy,
- Improved self-control,
- Emotional well-being
- The ability to relate to others (and ourselves) with kindness,
- Acceptance and compassion.
More importantly in schools, bullying often sees a decline after mindfulness is introduced.
Introducing a meditation practice into your life (and your kids’) will benefit all that participate. You’ll be more relaxed, have less stress, and able to multi-task with clarity and precision.
4. Where Is Your Grit?
Grit is a term that’s very familiar to older generations. By definition, grit means courage, resolve and strength of character.
According to Jenny Williams as part of her “Building Character” series, she said,
“Grit is a distinct combination of passion, resilience, determination, and focus that allows a person to maintain the discipline and optimism to persevere in their goals even in the face of discomfort, rejection, and a lack of visible progress for years, 7 ways to stay connected without technology or even decades.”
Technology, especially gaming, often gives us a false sense of reality. For example, if you “die,” you can start the game back over, again, or you can move on as if it never happened. Technology has brought us into an age of infinite possibilities and variety. We are all suffering from information overload. And let’s not forget, FOMO (fear of missing out). It may be difficult to cultivate grit and determination when there is seemingly no need on the bountiful playing field of abundant choices available to us. To develop and foster grit, it’s important to not only ignite passion, but to also recognize how our thoughts and beliefs affect our ability to succeed. Failure is never an end; it’s a priceless learning opportunity on how to move forward.
5. Take Time Out To Become Present
Those of the Jewish faith that observe Shabbat (the Sabbath), refrain from electricity, light candles and spend a day in rest, celebration and prayer. Communities and families come together, relax and enjoy each other’s company. There are no emails to be read or responded to, no pressing matters to attend to… it’s a slowing down and rejuvenation.
Many that practice Shabbat take naps, reinvigorating themselves. There is something inherently powerful (albeit uncomfortable) in the ability to “take a break” and put the technology down and away. A recent study found that young people that use technology heavily were at a higher risk of sleep and mental health issues.
Another study determined that the presence of a mobile phone (even face down on the table, not touched) was enough to impede intimacy, connection and deep conversation between people. Unplugging helps to remove unhealthy emotions and feelings of jealousy, comparison, envy or FOMO. It also allows us to become very present, in the here and now, where life is actually happening.
For families, powering down allows you to spend quality, intimate time together and lets everyone know how important they are to one another; how priceless and invaluable they are, in the flesh, compared to a piece of technology. Resolve to put your devices in “time out” for some rest, quality time with loved ones and rejuvenation.
6. Spend More Time With Your Family
Rituals and traditions provide a variety of benefits to families including strengthening the family bond, offering comfort and security, teaching values, passing on culture and connecting generations together.
Sure, selfies are cool. But “groupies” (spending time immersed in family) may be the new black. A tradition can be as simple as spending a holiday together every year, movie nights, family dinner, watching sports together, “first day” photos, individual time between parent and child (or grandparent, cousin, etc.), decorating for holidays or vacationing.
It doesn't matter what you choose to do; what matters is the time carved out to spend together and to keep it going. Everyone will look forward to it and really cherish both the experience and the memories as they are made.
There’s no app that can beat that!
7. Smarter Communication, Please
Communication is the foundation - the essential backbone - of any relationship. It provides the keys to understanding, connection and intimacy. With it, any challenge has the opportunity to be overcome. But without it, stumbling blocks and barriers are sure to ensue.
Text messaging, for example, and communicating through devices can lead to lots of misses (or mis-es): miscommunication, misunderstanding, misinterpretation and unnecessary assumptions.
Because communication is just as much non-verbal as it is verbal, a lot can be lost in translation from screen to screen. To cultivate healthy relationships, it’s imperative to effectively communicate with others. This includes being a good listener, clarifying and asking questions, and not taking things personal (don’t jump the gun)!
Technology + Humanity = Wholeness in Body, Mind & Spirit
While there is just no argument about the benefits of technology, it’s important to build balance in life (and family). In our fast-paced world, there is tremendous value to be found in quiet moments, sharing time with others, slowing down, resting and simplifying. Taking time out from devices is a powerful way to become present, mindful, happier, healthier and closer to those you love. What’s more, you’ll instill these qualities and habits into younger generations, guiding them to navigate successfully between screen-time and real-life.
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