Stress Awareness Day: 3 Tips to Help Parents Learn How to Unplug With Meditation by Dannie De Novo
As a parent, you no doubt have had more than one heated conflict with your child over his or her obsessive use of technology. I have a 3-year-old, and when I turn off the television or shut the laptop, it’s like the world ended. I don’t look forward to the days of being ignored because she is addicted to her own smartphone.
As a mom or dad, you clearly see the need for your child to disengage at times from social media, gaming and random, endless internet searching and surfing. But, as a parent do you recognize the equally important need to self-remove yourself at times from technology?
Now look, there a lot of experts out there advocating for the need to unplug. And, I don’t necessarily disagree with them, but I also happen to really like unplugging. Once you can get yourself through that separation anxiety from your smartphone and over your initial FOMO twitch, you probably will find that you get a lot out of unplugging. The research on the psychological benefits of doing so cannot be ignored.
However, for many, completely unplugging for prolonged periods of time isn’t practical or prudent. I have my own business, a lot of which is dependent on different forms of media. I also have a young daughter and want to be accessible just in case. So, I needed to come up with a different way to unplug more often without pulling the power cord. I found the means to disengage from the world and reconnect with myself through meditation.
I meditate every day. It has become a non-negotiable part of my day – more important than coffee or cosmetics. Meditation reigns supreme in my little world. Scientific research has shown that just by taking a few moments every day to check in and focus on clearing your mind of needless noise, you can reduce stress, anxiety and even depression. It is a drug-free, cost-effective and simple way to establish balance in your life and elevate your mood. It helps with creativity and innovation. It is also the best way to connect with yourself on a much higher plane than any digital technology could ever allow for.
Feeling connected gives one a sense of deep purpose. And, it is your sense of purpose that leads to a sense of fulfillment. When you feel good about who you are and what you are doing with your life, on a daily basis, it is hard not to be happier, healthier and more productive, all without electricity.
During this National Day of Unplugging, instead of forcing you to turn off the tech entirely, I would rather encourage you to connect on a different level. So, here are three tips to help you learn the skill of meditation and hopefully incorporate it into your daily habits:
- Yes, you need to find some quiet time: I like to meditate as soon as I wake up. I get out of bed, find a comfortable spot on the floor, sit down with legs crossed and get to it. I don’t look at my phone first. I don’t turn anything on. I stretch out for a few moments and begin. There are a couple of reason why I operate this way. First, if I do it before everything else, I know I will do it. Second, it is usually quiet in the early morning, and by avoiding any tech before I meditate, I ensure no distractions. Also, there is no separation anxiety because I have been tech-free during sleep. You can’t listen closely to what is going on inside of you if there is a lot of other noise around you. Find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted. Leave your tech in a different room. You will survive the quiet for the 10 or 20 minutes it takes to allow yourself the space to connect within.
- Turn your focus inward: Getting started with meditation is intimidating for some. For others, it seems silly. And for still others, they really just don’t know what to do or how to do it. Keep it simple to start. Your goal is to connect with yourself, so focus on yourself. The easiest way to do this is to focus on your breath. Focus on what is going on inside of you. Place one hand on your heart and other hand on your abdomen. Feel your chest and stomach rise and fall with each breath. Feel the rhythm of each heartbeat. Take a few moments just to feel those cycles over and over again. You don’t need to do anything other than to feel these basic, recurring processes of your body that you take for granted most of the time.
- Connect: Generally, a lot of people mistakenly believe that meditation is about removing your thoughts completely. That is a really hard thing to do. Meditation is more about listening to what your thoughts and emotions are trying to tell you. Meditation is about connecting on a higher level and listening to your inner guidance. When you first start meditating, that guidance may feel absent. It may feel that way for a while. But I promise you, if you stick with it, eventually you will start to hear that guidance. It may come in the form of an idea to solve a nagging problem. It may come in the form of comfort during a difficult time. It may come in the form of a brilliant new idea. But it will come, if you continue to connect and listen.
So, give meditation a try. You have nothing to lose, including your smartphone, and everything to gain. Maybe you can even get your kids to try it.
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