Saturday, January 16, 2016

Turn Off Your Phone

"The contents of this [blog] are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or the Peace Corps."

We are bombarded with images, sounds, snippets of information from news feeds, twitter and sometimes poorly written blogs(ahem) to the point where we actually can stress our nervous systems. We are constantly shoving into our minds more things to react to, think, worry and obsess over. Little of it is enduring. It may satiate your brain's need for stimulus and diversion but at the expense of more important alternatives. like time for critical thinking, silence, social interaction, contemplation, physical activity or other "real" activities.

So turn off your device and just sit with yourself. Maybe just see how you feel? Tired, stressed, hungry, antsy? Turn to how your body is feeling. Is it mimicking mind? Are your legs restless, muscles tight, stomach growling? Which happened first? This awareness of how your body and mind are feeling and reacting can help you look inwardly and make adjustments whether it be to get up and stretch or to take a moment to calmly assess a situation before reacting poorly to someone else who may unwittingly became your "reason" for how you feel. When you attribute your feelings and sensations to someone or some thing after you've already (maybe only subconsciously) felt them is a post-hoc attribution and can get you in trouble. Maybe your friend is really being annoying today and you had to snap at him. But could it also be that you were feeling upset prior but used him as justification to express it?

Or maybe you do a quick body scan and your feeling good. Well don't turn the device on quite yet. Use this time to practice non-doing, to be non-judgmental, to avoid striving and future thoughts and just sit in the moment. Let your body and mind slow down. Devoting time to yourself can help reset your mind and re-mind your body.

Or of course, you can always go outside and play. Just make today a day to play. Run without timing yourself or worrying about pace. Go for a hike in the woods. Enjoy life and let your body and mind relax.

To paraphrase something out of a Jon Kabat-Zinn book:

You only have moments to live. Nothing else. Just moments, one after another. These moments are lost when we try to live so many years ahead of each day. Bring yourself back to now. 

Until next time,


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