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5 Simple Ways to Unplug and Be More Mindful In Your Life

5 Simple Ways to Unplug and Be More Mindful In Your Life

In a world that is driven by constant innovation in technology and our innate need to want more and more in life, at what point does the society plateau or get comfortable at what is?  Probably NEVER!  Remember playing outside until the sun went down, leisurely trips to the local library to pick out books for the week, and having to look things up in the encyclopedia?  Nowadays, it seems as though the world is at our fingertips making life so much easier.  Or is it?

Going through life too fast

At what point does it become too much?  No longer do we gasp when a toddler who can’t even talk yet is able to navigate an Ipad or a cell phone better than some adults.  No longer do we question whether it’s ok to take leave from work by a quick text to your superior. Little by little our social etiquette is changing, but at what cost?

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So much stress is caused by the overload of stimulation. The amount of information coming at people is alarming.  Our bodies have not yet evolved to be able to handle it, so it is necessary to be mindful of how much is too much. Simplifying, minimizing, and slowing down are all ways we can create more peace in our daily lives and reduce the pressure we are putting on ourselves to keep up.

Cell phones have become an extension of ourselves

At concerts, instead of the glow of the lighters, the cast of white light recording to capture the moment illuminates the crowd.  Our ability to engage and connect with people and moments in life diminish with the incessant need to post, check-in and hashtag our experiences.

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New generations are losing their peripheral vision, people are injuring themselves while walking and texting, and social skills among our youth are not being developed appropriately for their age. Instead of creating memories in our mind, we rely on our hard drives to store them for us. The art of a handwritten letter or card or even learning how to write a script is becoming a thing of the past.  While social media, technology, and innovation have helped our daily lives, having an awareness of what impact it has on our relationships, quality of life, and stress levels can encourage all of us to unplug and recharge ourselves every so often.

In so many ways, we are all at the mercy of technology.  In order to create balance and a lifestyle that will allow you to be present in your life, it is necessary to create healthy habits.

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5 simple ways to become more present in life

Here are some tips that will help you manage just that;

  1. Create a cell-free time in your day – Often times having your phone next to you at all times creates the need to check in too often.  It’s so hard to shy away from that green or blue notification light blinking away!  Dedicate breaks of time where your cell phone is out of sight, so you can focus and truly be with people during your day.  Create a set of personal rules, such as no phone interactions at the dinner table, while you have company over, or while you are in a public place.
  2. Silence notifications – When you are not required to answer a text, call, or email, turn your phone on silent so that you can avoid constant distraction and not be tempted to answer immediately.  Stress can be caused by the pressure felt by having to answer immediately or multi-task.  We are more efficient doing one task at a time!
  3. Tune into nature – One of the best ways to ensure you are centered and engaged in the present is to be out in nature. Soaking in the sounds, getting some fresh air and sun exposure is amazing for the mind, body, and spirit.
  4. Read a book – Too much screen time is wreaking havoc on our eyes, posture, and brains. Taking breaks from the screen to read a book is a nice way to still get information and enjoyment, but without the physical strain induced by an electronic device. If you like to read in bed, prop a pillow behind your head so you are not looking down at the book, this ensures your neck is in a neutral position.
  5. Play music – Instead of having your television on all day on the weekend, opt for playing music instead.  Music can enhance focus, promote creativity, and relax the mind.

5 benefits of unplugging

This will instantly enable you to become more present in your life and that in turn will do the following;

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  • Strengthen interpersonal communication and your relationships
  • Boost creativity and focus
  • De-stress and calm anxiety or fear
  • Improve gratitude
  • Create inner peace and joy

Try to incorporate these tips into your daily routine and life will suddenly become more engaging and less stressful!

Featured photo credit: www.pexels.com via pexels.com

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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