Monday, April 13, 2015

Stress Reduction: Taking a Break from Gadgets

Are gadgets stressful?  When we struggle with them they are.  When the battery dies or a lever or button breaks and we can’t get the thing to do what we want.  But perfectly functional gadgets can be stressful too when they begin to interrupt the natural flow of life rather than aid us as they were originally meant to do. 

It’s really too late to go back in time and prevent all the modern electronic gadgets from entering our world, and who would want to.  Many of these devices are life savers and helpful in every aspect.  But let’s not forget our humanness.  We need rest from these gadgets that push us from the moment they blast us out of bed with alarms, to the moment they put us to bed with clap-off lights. 

So here are some ideas: 

When taking your 15 minute break at work (if you even still get one these days), be sure to leave the cell phone at your desk.  I know.  I know.  The very thought of missing one single call or message is blaspheme to most, but I know you want to reduce your stress level.  So read on. 

Think, instead, about taking a walk outside where you can stretch the muscles of the eyes by focusing on things far into the distant like the horizon, clouds, or mountains.  Try to go without the company of your MP3 and the usual music and noise that bombards your ears with constant distraction and entertainment.  Let the ears tune into the more natural sounds around you such as birds and other animals, water flowing, and even wind or breezes. If you live deep in the heart of a noisy city, tune into one of the other senses such as noticing the feel of the air on your skin or the feel of wind or breeze against your face. 

Outside of your job and even at home, try some relaxing activities that are not going to bombard you all-the-more with flashes of sound, light, and entertainment stimulation such as video games, movies, and noise.   Tai Chi and Qigong exercises are good for the body and natural exercises that don’t force you to keep up with machines that demand an unnatural speed for the legs or arms.  Yoga can also give your body the stretching and movement it’s not getting while sitting all day at your computer, and many of the exercises related to Yoga and Qigong will help you begin to return to an awareness of the natural pace of the human breath.

Imagine what your day would be like if the electronic gadgets that typically dominate your life were completely removed.  Yes, you’d most likely be bored and unsure what to do with yourself, but the next time you ask yourself why you are so stressed out, think about what percentage of your day is spent attending to gadgets that distract you from the natural world around you—a world that you are an innate part of and which does not naturally manifest from machines.

Thanks to Joana Coccarelli for her great collage art "miss gadget"