As our lives become more and more integrated with technology, we have endless access to large amounts of information. Through work, socializing and relaxing time, we spend an extended part of our days on our devices, inundating our minds with screen-based media. Though it provides us with a greater understanding of ourselves and the world we live in, research has shown that we also need to give our minds a break.
Meaningful social interaction
In recent years it has become more common for people to text or email rather than to pick up the phone or walk down the hall to speak with someone. Even when people meet in social situations, often the cell phone is taken out and replaces where conversation use to be. However, social interaction without any technology present can create stronger bonds, reduce anxiety and help to feel less isolated. Being meaningful with your interactions with others allows our overtaxed brains to relax and gives us a greater sense of belonging.
There is a great deal of research and literature available regarding the detriment technology has had on activity levels in recent years. When your body is stationary for too long because you are consumed by screen-based activities or information, you run the risk of health problems associated with depression, obesity and illnesses. The lure of these devices and the entertainment value you are rewarded with outweigh your body’s natural need to move and be outdoors. However, even a brief interaction with movement and being outside will help to improve brain fog that is associated with overloading on screen time.
Our overtaxed brains have little time or room to think of anything other then what is currently being viewed. However, it is important to take time out of your day to contemplate what is happening in your life and how you are feeling. Pondering about your life will help to clear out anxiety and help to see aspects in a more focussed manner. Be sure to do this either outside during a walk or sitting in a quiet space without distractions for maximum benefit.
Engaging in activities that are designed to quiet the mind and body help not only with stress and anxiety, but also improve your mood and overall outlook on life. Find a space that has no distractions, sit or lie down on the ground (not on the bed – that is called sleeping) and close your eyes. Focus on your breath going in and out of your nose. Do not follow the breath past your nose or this will cause restricted breathing. When thoughts come into your mind, recognize them as distractions and gently pull your attention back to your breathing. Doing this for even 10 minutes a day a couple of times a week will help lead to mindful engagement, relaxation and calmness.
It’s not surprising that getting out in nature and walking or doing other activities in green spaces leads to greater life satisfaction, lowers stress and promotes better mental health. As little as 20 minutes outside in nature can restore your tired brains and promote overall happiness.
It’s important to remind ourselves that leaving the devises in your pocket or purse once a day can have great benefits to your physical and mental health as well as create a more meaningful live experience.