Feeling overwhelmed, unbalanced and in need of a digital detox with no holiday in sight? Here are five ways to clear your mental cache and get your digital habits on a healthy and balanced track.
No. 1 GET REAL and GAIN PERSPECTIVE. Electronic devices are tools, potentially valuable, potentially destructive and length of on-device time is not indicative of productivity: You could be online for three efficient, balanced hours and accomplish much more than the meandering, digitally exhausted version of yourself.
Do a realistic overview and ask some courageous questions: Do I use my devices to avoid conversation and relationship with others? Do I use my device to look busy or important? Do I habitually check my device because I feel awkward? Do I regularly prioritise the information coming through on my device over interaction with my children? Do I spend so much time on devices that I forgo exercise and compromise my health? How many hours? Am I addicted?
Through honest assessment, we become aware of habits we wish to shift. Just as we take responsibility for quality of work, we also take responsibility for our experience in the workplace and for our physical, emotional and mental health.
No. 2 A TONED VAGUS NERVE SOOTHES DIGITAL OVERLOAD. The vagus nerve helps stabilise the heart rate and breathing, enhances digestion, tells your body to relax, supports kidney function and can even reduce inflammation: sing, do yoga, laugh, get a massage, let the stomach rise and fall as you breathe, exercise and be in positive relationships. All tone the vagus nerve, which is important for optimal health and an enhanced experience of life.
No. 3 ZOOM OUT to GAIN A BIGGER VISION. With information overload, the precise, detail oriented function of eyes and brain are heavily taxed, effecting brain function. We feel anxious and disoriented as excessive onscreen time diminishes our ability to be present, focused and make good decisions.
Thankfully, we can gain a bigger perspective by zooming out like a telephoto lens: Breathe. Deeply and slowly. Oxygenate and nourish the brain. Develop a regular routine for stretches, like this video for texting neck found at my YouTube channel. Take upliftment breaks to softly gaze at the horizon or the sky and rest the eyes. Done regularly, you will have greater clarity and balance–as you teach yourself to be present within each moment.
No. 4 DEVELOP–then MODEL–HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP to YOUR DEVICES. Often, we feel obligated to act as others in the workplace: How is normal working out for the world? Be the staff member who puts the phone away at lunch, the person who comes into the office and rather than hiding behind a veil of busy-ness, chooses speak face-to-face. Consider daily time slots for answering emails, thereby leaving other portions of the day for your creative, project oriented work. Propose a digital-free hour when going to lunch with colleagues or head out for a brisk noon walk. Opt to be kind, to greet and acknowledge others with respect–especially if you disagree with a colleague’s opinion. If it feels tiring being the “bigger” person, do it any way. It’s a good habit. Especially when you’re grumpy.
No. 5 CLEAR the MENTAL RESIDUE with MEDITATION. To clear the mental cache and sweep out the mind, meditate: 15 minutes first thing in the morning and 15 minutes before bed. If you have a moment during your noon hour, meditate. Meditation is the ultimate de-stressor that supports optimal body function: cortisol levels decrease while brain and immune functions improve. Meditators can grow more grey matter in the brain in just eight weeks and meditation is also shown to improve the length of our telomeres which support healthful aging. With regular practice, we have an opportunity to install an entirely new mental operating system that runs better, is more efficient and is responsive rather than reactive.
Learn to be present and powerful! Karuna’s meditation programme The 10 Qualities of the Powerful Mind will help you become more present, gain mental clarity and improved focus. Download today.