Disconnect to connect- 5 mins
Living in the Digital era with awareness
Living in the 21st century, we cannot really imagine a life without technology anymore, even if we would like to. From communication to grocery shopping — all of these activities involve technology either in a direct or indirect way. People who are tech-savvy have one more extra need for technology — it is basically their drug.
People in the above-mentioned category usually have a lower attention span, they over-consume information and usually do way too much multitasking. All of this create this feeling of constantly being connected with everyone, anywhere.
Just by walking down on a busy street, or going to a local restaurant, you will see how many people are focused on their smartphones meanwhile having a company with them. This is simply ridiculous! Being connected has only one meaning nowadays, which is beign able to access the internet — anytime, anywhere. In my vocabulary, being connected simply means being present and appreciating the present moment.
We tend to lose focus pretty easily with the present moment, and we usually dive into a pool of social networks. The first step in overcoming this problem is to eliminate redundancy. It is understandable that you need to have a network of people, with whom you can share things and earn social currency, the main problem is, that we are usually part of many more. Many people use some or all of the following social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Foursquare, Snapchat, Vine and so on. Try asking yourself the following questions: How much time do I spend sharing things on each of those networks? Do I really need to over-share? How many friends do you have in common between those networks? The first step in becoming more self-aware is to eliminate as much redundancy as possible. If you come across a person, who asks you whether you are on xy social network or not, and your answer is no, do not feel the urge to become a member! Stick to your preferred place and do not fall back in the same trap as in the beginning!
Becoming more self-aware can be achieved by losing some old and creating some new habits. Some of the rituals that helped me become more focused and connected were the following:
Starting the day with a testosterone-boosting cold shower is not only beneficial to your health, but it will also make you feel happier and more energetic throughout the whole day.
A quick 15-20 minutes yoga with a meditation session is also a habit that I try to keep every morning; they are usually short enough to be able to pack in before your busy daily schedule.
Picking up a pen in the morning and write out your thoughts and ideas for the day will make you feel more productive and ready to fill up your mind during the day. This can be accompanied by some water or a good sencha green tea. I find tea not only to be a way to connect people with each other, but also to connect yourself with the present moment.
Try to use public transportation as much as possible, make connection with people during the day and compliment them. It is so simple, yet so rare nowadays to see people complementing each other. It is such a simple idea, yet we tend to forget it all the time. So grab the opportunity and do it as often as possible — you will not only make their day, you will also make an impact on their daily life.
When you are in a conversation with another person, look them in the eye, try to be more present and do not pull out your smartphone to check if anyone is looking for you in your virtual life or not — you can do that in breaks, but for no more than 5-10 minutes.
Exercise during the day; either your brain, by reading a great book, or your body by going for a run. Being healthy will make you feel better and make you live longer. Do not start diets, try eating healthier instead.
Before you go to bed, try writing down what have you accomplished that day, what are you grateful for. It does not matter if you do this on paper or in your online virtual notebook — what matters is that you acknowledge them. We tend to forget what are all the small things that make us who we are, what helps us and gives us power to wake up the next day. Write down every small thing that you are truely grateful for.
The list above was not meant to be an exact step-by-step guide on how to become more self-aware and present, but rather an example of things you could do. You have to experiment on your own with the rituals and habits you want to practice. Find the one that suits your personality and your lifestyle the best. Be open about it!
So, next time when you see someone getting disconnected in your presence, help them out by engaging them in a converstaion and raise their awareness on the situation.
Call-to-action: Tell me what is your single one ritual/habit that you practice each day — which makes you happier and more connected. Contact me on Twitter @hifromantal.
Disclaimer: This blog-post was originally submitted to Medium, here, on December 2, 2013.
Header photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash.