Switch off to Switch On!

The average social media user checks in every 6.5 MINUTES that’s around 150 times a day ! – so says the research carried out by Arianna Huffington for her Thrive book .. and I am a guilty addict .. so it needed to change …..

‘I am writing this blog initially in a pink pen on a notepad . Yes actual writing – not on a screen , not with my thumbs or clicking on keyboard – but physically moving my pen over the page , feeling it’s smooth movement and realising how much focus is needed to form the letters … and how slow I am at it! You see I am having a digital detox day – no social media or checking of messages .. and already I am feeling calmer and more relaxed.

As someone who is an avid ‘ poster’ – I have 4 FB pages inc home and business , a twitter , an Instagram and a Linked in plus both home and business email accounts it seems I am on line A LOT! But not just when I need to be . I am permanently attached to my phone, checking it , picking it up , carrying it with me , worrying where I put it – not even able to get out of the car without looking at it. I was convinced for a while I was connected , learning and taking part in the world – always engaged and up to date but since becoming a practitioner or mindfulness ( hence the creation of my Reconnection Project and Journal Program) and mindfulness becoming a big part of my life, I have started to become aware of some worrying behaviours.

  1. Anxiety constantly over where the said phone was!
  2. Lack of attention with no ability to focus for more than a few minutes at a task before needing to check in again!
  3. Worrying memory issues from constant short bursts of short pieces of info that I rarely read in-depth, which led to me having difficulty remembering anything at all.
  4. Never truly engaged especially with my young son – I would be with him whilst he played but I would be on screen time so never fully present and experiencing this precious time with him.

On top of all of these I have become disillusioned with the images and news I am  reading.

  • the constant outpouring of celebrity grief for every single person that passes ( that’s a whole other blog itself.)
  • suddenly seeing images of tortured animals and experimentations and horrific news  – especially those where people think saying Amen will do any good.
  • being asked to cut and paste and being basically told if I didn’t I was a dreadful human being.
  • The seemingly endless petitions which are now so easy to just click and share – no effort needed to support a cause anymore. .. and who follows up on everything they clicked on ?
  • and finally the feeling of motion sickness and headaches caused by the scrolling action which my eyes have taken offense to.

And so on Saturday I decided to disconnect! and writing this late on Saturday afternoon it’s been a revelation already.  Suddenly I am aware of what is going in the world – the real world – like spending time with my family at our favourite café – instead of sitting there on my phone I am reading stories to my son and chatting to my husband ( who is slightly disgruntled as he is still connected and trying to invade an imaginary land).

Watching a film together and really watching it – seeing my son so excited when his favourite character came on and realising that he could say the words of certain scenes – who knew ?

Reading a real magazine – fully immersed in the articles , making notes and highlighting favourite pieces and feeling the knowledge start to seep into my brain which was relieved we were not skim reading yet again .. and the writing  this blog from start to finish without interruption…already there is a calmness and a belief of purpose that has began to come through .’

Now typing this up on Monday I can say I have continued my digital detox – not totally as I do enjoy hearing people’s happy moments and I love interacting with my on line community which plays a big part in my business – but I have been limiting my social media time. Specifically putting the phone away whilst being on task and ensuring that I am in the moment when I am with people. Ironically I have discovered a whole host of great material to share with my on line tribes whilst also having some serious background knowledge rather than simply clicking share on interesting articles – my love of research never went away but it was sadly dimmed it seemed and is now being embraced fully! – many post it notes have been used this weekend 🙂

I have noticed of course how much others are firmly still head down – my whole family including my young son were all on devices on Saturday evening so there was no one there to talk to .. I shall gently tackle this on going plus I realised how much of an ‘ addict I was ‘ – after the initial first day of enjoyment there was also some anxiety about not checking in which worried me but in turn reminded me that this project is important to our mental wellbeing ..

So I will work to resist the urge to live in a virtual world and strive be mindful in the present.

Details of my Journaling Program can be found at http://www.bemoore.uk

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