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Break Bad and Curb Your Addiction to Smartphones

Break Bad and Curb Your Addiction to Smartphones

We live in a generation that’s tech-crazy, tech-savvy, tech-hungry, and desperately distracted. The flip side of technology is its ability to blur the lines of reality. Case in point: Social Media is a viable alternative to real, personal interaction. It’s easier to build relationships online with people of various interests and social circles, guilt-free. The thing is, these relationships are somewhat disposable.

This can’t discredit the contributions of technology to awareness and connectivity, but there’s a disconnect when people start paying too much attention to 7-inch screens instead of the boundless world that’s literally in front of them. You’re guilty of this if you take too many selfies, using the beach or canyon as backdrop. Each minute you spend focusing on digital documentation is a minute lost savoring the moment.

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The Truth About Smartphones

Smartphones are practically downscaled computers, and many of the devices available nowadays will put the desktop computers of yesteryear to shame. Portability and mobility is a blessing and a curse, and if you can’t imagine yourself without your smartphone, not even for a few minutes, then it’s time to rethink your dependence. Nip the problem in the bud before it becomes an addiction. Here are solutions you should try out to wean yourself from your smartphone and your insatiable attachment to it.

1. Use it When You Need it

Decide to use your smartphone only when necessary, even if this is easier said than done. You just can’t have too many apps on your device, and there are even more available for download, including apps that’ll turn your smartphone into a digital Swiss knife. As it turns out, your decision will make all the difference. Restrict, or limit online activity to your laptop, a bulkier contraption people seldom use nowadays. At the very least, use your smartphone for its basic functions—making calls and sending messages, in case you’ve forgotten.

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2. Set Boundaries

Recover and maintain your boundaries. There’s a reason why phones are switched off on airplanes, at movie theaters, classrooms, and boardroom meetings. There are things that deserve priority, like your safety and everyone else’s personal space. Besides, people used to get by without all those on-the-go emails and online statuses, and it’s unlikely you’re missing something important for the next twenty minutes. Turn off your smartphone when necessary; you’re still on the grid, and everything will come rushing in when you come back.

3. Meals First, Socialization Second

Can you imagine a day when you tucked away your phone during dinner or during lunch? Some people even have the nerve to flip out their phones in the middle of an engaging dinner date. Dinners are meant for meals first, socialization second. You can tap-tap at the touch-screen to your heart’s content if you’re dining solo, or if you don’t mind your meal getting cold by the minute. However, do yourself and your companion a favor by tucking your phone away and focusing on the meal instead.

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4. Stop and Smell the Roses, Literally

When was the last time you spent time in the great outdoors, took a leisurely walk at the park, or watched children skating at a frozen lake? When was the last time you did these without bringing along a smartphone, tablet, laptop, even a digital camera? The great outdoors is best experienced raw and spontaneous, and it’s better if you only have the basic few tools to document the entire thing. Digital cameras can be necessities, so long as you focus on the experience and the documentation. The best thing about the outdoors is the absence of network signal, though, leaving you no choice but to sit on your hands the whole time.

5. Hold the Updates for Later

Don’t you just love social media sites? Most people do, anyway. Posting updates on Facebook, Twitter, and a plethora of other sites establishes your online presence, to your real and online communities, but you’ll be amazed how these little indulgences sap your time and productivity. These are serious distractions if you steal a peek at updates every so often at work. Moreover, if you’re one of those who considers social media as a second life, a few minutes of indulgence easily stretches out to thirty minutes, to hours on end. Your community will thrive even if you don’t post-share that dancing cat video, the one you just can’t get enough of.

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6. Real People Got Game

Smartphones have downscaled interaction, and technology also did the same to gaming. Although you’re often part of a larger community when you’re in an online game, the connection is different compared to playing Monopoly or Uno with friends and family. Have you ever played Jenga online or on mobile? The virtual game is a dud compared to the actual game, isn’t it? Nothing beats the thrill of playing group games with real people, people you can actually reach out to and touch, fist-bump, and give high fives to.

7. Position Yourself Away From GPS

The convenience of GPS has become a necessity, and many are now dependent on this technology whenever they’re scouting the beaten and off-beat paths. It’s even easier to check out a store’s location online before you head out and visit the mall. These perks numb our sense of adventure, though. There’s a special thrill that comes when you’re lost in the wild. Besides, you’ll eventually find that shoe outlet, and you might even pass by the competition, find deals sweeter than you intended to pay for. GPS is helpful when your position on the planet is of the utmost importance, but unless you’re lost at sea or amidst a lush rain forest, then everything is just indulgence.

8. Don’t Text and Drive

There’s a running joke about seatbelts and helmets, these being invented to protect something that even dares to defy the odds by speeding and challenging the rules of physics. Using smartphones and electronic devices takes negligence to the next level, though. Sure, your car has cruise control and you know the routes like the back of your hand, but the vehicle and the driver behind, beside, and in front of you may not. If you really value your life and the lives of those with you, then you should drop the phone and take the steering wheel and gear shift seriously.

Of course, these are just suggestions to help you curb your addiction to smartphones. You’ll find other ways to curb your smartphone addiction, and it’ll dawn on you that the device isn’t as essential as you imagined. If you’re not convinced, take out your smartphone, grip it like a bar of soap, and consider if you’ve become dependent like it’s another limb, a third arm if you will. If you are, let it go and spend some actual “me” time, away from the distractions and trivialities of technology.

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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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