Switching off to tune in…

yoga

When you get up in the morning, is your alarm clock an actual clock on your bedside table, or is it a mobile device, somewhere in or near your bed? Chances are your device is within arm’s reach of you when you sleep, maybe it even disturbs your sleep.

When you wake, what is the first thing you do? Get up, go to the loo, brush your teeth, wash your face, have a cup of tea? Or check Facebook, email, bank account and the news? Where is your phone right now? I bet it isn’t far from you, you might even be reading this article on it. How long can you leave your devices before you become anxious?
When you get to work, what is the first thing you do? When you open your emails how do you feel? Do you check your personal phone throughout the working day? Do you find yourself powerless to stop even though you know you should be working? When you get a notification of any sort on your phone what do you do? Do you stop what you are doing to respond to it immediately, regardless of who or what you might be interrupting? How does that affect the person you are speaking to? The list of questions and points about how our technology is dominating our lives can go on and on. As a society we seem utterly enslaved by our devices, and willingly and enthusiastically so, but at the same time we are drowning in social media and email overwhelm. This is leading us to be more ‘connected’ but at the same time we are becoming disconnected from ourselves and each other in real, human ways.
Dr Larry Rosen has written a frankly terrifying book called ‘iDisorder’, documenting evidence that our use of technology is leading us to exhibit alarming signs of many mental health disorders.

I have read two chapters so far and recognised my own behaviour so much it was unnerving. He also reports that instances increase down the generations, a worrying prognosis for todays’ toddlers who are already scarily proficient with a smart phone.  While it can be very hard, if not impossible, to break free from technology in the 21st century, there are steps we can take to minimise the negative impact we allow it to have on our mental health. Make a point of engaging in an activity that isn’t technology dependent – read an actual book, go for a walk, make something with your hands, engage in physical activity, practice Yoga, dedicate one day a week to ‘switch off’, spend time in nature, at the coast, in the hills. These activities take us into the moment, and allow us to reset our brains away from the click bait.

“We really need to retrain our mind to disconnect in order to reconnect, we are human beings, not machines”.

Esther Nagle believes that happiness and health are our birthright, and that we can all take simple steps to achieve this. She has battled many personal demons, including alcoholism and the low self esteem that fuelled this, to achieve this for herself and wants to help others find the same for themselves.

You can learn more about the tools Esther offers on her website www.balanceandbreathe.co.uk/
Esther is hosting a retreat to help people disconnect from their technology and connect with themselves, and the people and world around them. The retreat is at Coed Hills Rural Artspace from 31st July – 2nd August. Further details are available on www.balanceandbreathe.co.uk/disconnect/

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