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Need A Digital Detox? 10 Ways To Switch Off

Need A Digital Detox? 10 Ways To Switch Off

Considering most of us depend on our smart phones to wake us up in the morning, tell us the weather, and direct us to our next destination, having a digital or gadget free day (or hour) is no easy challenge. Technology has made life a lot more interconnected and convenient; however, it has also compelled its users (us) to feel a need to be switched on 24/7. Having to keep up with endless notifications coming from 10 different social media platforms can be stressful and exhausting. Let’s not even get started on emails.

If you struggle to break up with your phone for even two minutes, maybe it’s time to take action and treat yourself to a digital detox. Even if it’s just one hour a day, it can make a world of difference to your well-being and sanity.

Not sure where to start? Here are 10 ways to unplug and switch off. The goal is to be more productive and do more of what you love, minus the reliance and addiction to technology.

Be Ruthless With Your Smart Phone Notifications

Guilty of checking your phone every time someone mentions you on Facebook or tags you in a photo on Instagram? If self control is an issue here, do something drastic once and for all. Dedicate time slots throughout the day (or on weekends), where you turn of all incoming data notifications. Instead of spending your days with your head down, scrolling through feeds and feeds of information, why not fit in some quality face-to-face time to catch up with friends, family, or your significant other? If something’s urgent, people can still reach you by calling you. Don’t worry, your Facebook messages and Instagram tags aren’t going anywhere.

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Do a Digital Cull

Bite the bullet and delete all of the apps that you never use on your phone (or hardly ever use), as well as any unnecessary social media platforms. Unsubscribe from newsletters you’ve subscribed to, but usually delete before opening – they’re just adding to your digital clutter and causing unneeded stress.

Unroll.Me is a fantastic website to use for digital culling. Sign up to see a list of all your subscription emails – then unsubscribe instantly from whatever you don’t want with one simple click. Too easy.

Indulge in a ‘Wellcation’

Holidays are meant to be relaxing, but when you’re constantly on your phone Instagramming every perfect shot you can get and Snapchatting as you walk, it’s easy to get lost in the virtual world and forget to appreciate the moment by simply ‘being there’. If you’re ready for a break where you can unplug and de-stress, treat yourself to a ‘wellcation’ on your next getaway.

Book a flight to Fiji or any other island paradise where you can escape from the digital world, be out of range, and reconnect with nature. You will be so busy snorkeling, swinging on hammocks, getting massages, and drinking fresh coconuts by the pool, that your emails will be the last thing on your mind. If you need some extra help, the Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa offers an Ultimate Business Break package where guests are able to surrender their devices to their personal butler.

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Get Smart with Emails

As most people would agree, emails can be the bane of one’s existence. Sure, it’s necessary, but it’s also a major time suck. Thanks to technology, we’re constantly ‘at work’, checking emails as soon as we wake up, when we’re on the go, on holidays, and even during meal times.

If all of the above sounds like you, it’s time to manage your emails, rather than letting your emails manage you. Set up an efficient email system where you only read your emails at set times during the day. You can also turn off all email notifications after hours and on weekends. Craft up response templates for generic or common emails to save time, and don’t be shy about setting out-of-office emails to set expectations.

Establish Some Social Rules

Ensure to practice digital etiquette when you are in company, including when you are on dates or simply having drinks with friends. This means turning your phone on silent or keeping your phone in your bag and focusing on the conversation. To make it fun, play ‘Phone Stack’, which is a game that takes place with a group of friends over a meal. Everyone must give up their phones and place them in the middle of the table. The goal is to see who can last the longest without their phone. Whoever caves first must suffer the consequences and pay the bill. Digital detoxes are easier when friends and money are involved!

Schedule Screen-Free Time

Everyday, allocate time slots in your calendar for non-negotiable screen-free time. When it’s written in your calendar you are more likely to commit to the time you have set aside and promised yourself. Treat it with the same importance as you would with a work meeting or a doctor’s appointment. Utilize this time to do whatever you wish that’s tech-free.

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Screen-free time can be as simple as reading a book in the garden for the afternoon or going out for a walk. Think of it as quality ‘me time’ or ‘down time’ – you just may be surprsied how much better you’ll feel aftwards.

Substitute Your Screens

In today’s digital world, we use our tablets to read a book and our laptops to watch movies on Netflix. Substitute these screens by visiting a book shop or organizing a night out during the week with your friends to see a movie at the cinema. You can essentially still have your fun but with less screens involved and more opportunities to interact with others.

Similarly, if at work, instead of hosting meetings or brainstorm sessions whereby everyone’s attached to their laptop screens, organize a stand up or outdoors meeting instead. Getting up and about with some fresh air can help introduce clarity of thought, resulting in more productive meetings and pleasant experiences.

Reorganize Your Bedroom

Creating a digital free sanctuary in your home is a great way to de-stress from your busy lifestyle. Your bedroom should be the ultimate zone to unplug and switch off after a long busy day. For this to work, set some ground rules. Remove all screens from your bedroom. The TV can stay in the living room, but your laptop or tablet should be out of sight. The same goes for your phone, where you can use an actual clock instead for your alarm. Invest in a comfortable bed, as well as some quality sheets and pillows. Introduce candles into the space and diffuse some essential oils every night. Do whatever it takes to design an environment that’s comfortable and relaxing – no gadgets involved.

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Find a New Hobby

If you normally fill your spare time with screen time, then you may need to seek out some new activities and hobbies to fill the digital void. Write a list of all the activities or side projects you’ve been meaning to do but never seem to have the time for, and start ticking them off one by one. Whether it’s trying out Pilates and Yoga, or taking up knitting or pottery class, now’s the time to do it. Opt for activities that don’t require access to technology and ask a friend to join you for added motivation.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

If you still need help, download the Big Red Stop on Google Play, a free digital detox app for your iPhone. If you feel like going offline for a while, all you need to do is press the big red ‘Stop’ button in the app which will let anyone who messages you know that you are taking a break and when you will be back online. Yes, it’s ironic that you’re leveraging technology to detach yourself from being switched on; but, hey, whatever works right?

Conclusion

A digital detox is all about the power of now and being present in the moment. So, next time you sit down to enjoy a sunset or get up to dance at a music gig, instead of getting your phone out to take the perfect shot, leave it in your pocket and simply enjoy the experience.

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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