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Part 15 - Unlocking Deep Health Exploring Gretchen Rubin's 'The Happiness Project' Secrets"

This is a common conversation with clients and observation in general as the years go by. It's also a reminder for me as to how much my work (and the world) has changed, just in the 23 years in this industry:


Being very accessible sometimes makes it hard to connect with people


There are so many rabbit holes to go down with this statement for sure. It's a hot topic because it IS our reality and it IS impacting our health.


First off, let me state that although my use and view of technology has changed over the years (I used to be the "new stuff is cool" kind of person with technology), I am in recent years in the mindset that other professionals share, such as Cal Newport (author of "Deep Work" & "Digital Minimalism") and Dr Greg Wells (author of "The Ripple Effect" & "Rest, Refocus, Recharge").


To summarize the overall message:

It's not that technology is "bad". It's the fact that we are repeatedly using it in ways that is negatively impacting our deep health.

As a Health & Wellness Coach, who's job it is to work with people - I see it. I see the impact on people's health, lifestyle practices, mindsets etc...


The way I take Gretchen's statement and relate it to our deep health is the idea that we are ALWAYS "ON". We are SLAVES to our devices. Our attention span, focus and concentration have been sacrificed. We are constantly at everyone's beckon call. I do my best in discussions with clients to help them understand that I'm not trying to demonize the technology, social media and so on. I choose to minimize it for my health, yes; but that doesn't mean anyone else has to in the same way. The key words I help them focus on there however is "I CHOOSE".




Regain Control


I used to be glued to my phone, social media etc. As I got older, I began to realize the impact it was having on ME personally;


-The time I gave up to scrolling social media feeds (not for any reason like connecting with family or friends, but rather just liking posts and scrolling to the next less than 20sec later... over... and over... and over...)


-The way it was beginning to make me feel; stress and anxiety based on something someone wrote on a post, negative stories of things that have nothing to do with me or my life, things that would drag me down and reinforce negativity (sometimes at the expense of reality)....


-The compulsive desire to look at my phone. We've all had those times where you pick it up because you felt the need, but really do nothing on it when you do.


-The lack of being PRESENT, in the moment. Spending time with friends, family or at an event and having the urge to have my phone in hand.


-The feeling of "having to reply" to a text or email when it comes in rather than when I'm ready/willing to


... Ok now I'm twisting this statement somewhat. I'm sorry. But I get passionate when I talk about it because I've seen it change people close to me and in clients. It's sad. It's scary. Not because of what "I want" but because I see the impact on their deep health!!




This is where I'll try to save my point though:


Being slaves to this technology (or being accessible TO OUR TECH and/or others), rather than using it in ways that benefit us, makes it harder to connect with the people around us;


...Because rather than mindfully listening to someone we're checking our phones


...Because we can't hold our attention on a topic of conversation long enough, so we completely jump to something irrelevant (like a funny meme we saw, or what someone posted the other day)


... Because being available to anyone 24/7, with no boundaries, negatively impacts our deep health which in turn negatively impacts the relationship with that person


... Because our constant practice of "snippets of attention" / lack of focus for much longer than 30-60sec, is impacting our ability to communicate effectively


YOUR time MUST be your priority


Become relentless in protecting your own time. Ensure YOU take priority. A major component to today's lifestyle for most of us is our technology and how we use it. IT (the tech/devices) is most people's priority. The scary thing is sometimes we don't even realize it.


Remember back before cell phones (for some of you reading this)?


-Remember how you'd go from the grocery store, to run another errand and then home without having to pull over and check/reply to a message or answer a call while you drive?

-Remember how when you got home from work you were done working?

-Remember how if you called someone you'd leave a message and they would get back to you when it was convenient for them?


It CAN still be like that. WE have created this practice of ALWAYS being accessible and it is completely impacting our health, our relationships and causing added stress to our days. By being accessible so often, we are GIVING our time and our HEALTH to other people.


Try simple practices to get started


-Leave your phone in another room (sounds off) for 30min, 60min ....


-Set your phone's ability to shut down various apps etc at a particular time so you begin to practice time for YOU (not for incoming emails, calls etc)


-If you use your phone/device for work, practice staying off it (or NOT replying to work related messages) after work hours. When you're home - BE HOME (physically, mentally, emotionally, socially...)


-Take an afternoon or even a day where you are tech free


-Create the practice of replying and checking messages only in particular blocks of time in the day (vs randomly, all day and night)


-Create the habit of leaving messages/emails as "unread" so you can get back them WHEN (and only WHEN) YOU are ready to reply.


Ultimately, as with anything in our health practices: If you DO nothing... Nothing changes. You have to TAKE ACTION. Small actions. Realistic actions.

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