No matter where I go or what I do, I notice people. We come in all sizes, ages, colors, and fashion style. We sit alone in contemplative thought or converse with laughter, but mostly, we rush. We seem urgent to see more and do more as if being on the move proves us to be important and successful.
We have phones, earbuds or headphones, computers, TV’s, and Iwatches. A body in motion plus an over-stimulated mind have become the desired norm. I, too, am guilty. Hooked on audiobooks, instead of walking, riding my bike, cooking, or sitting on the patio in quiet thoughtfulness, I am engrossed in an ongoing novel. I listen even when I shop or drive. My brain doesn’t get a rest even when my body slows down.
To be mentally healthy and well, I must strive for balance, and the same is true for YOU. Time to focus on our thoughts, our day, and the people we value is a need. Call it unplugging or mindfulness; it is a matter of our bodies and brains getting a rest from information, noise, and nonstop busyness.
Cutting back on the phone, computer, and TV time will not happen without conscious effort. We need to believe in the value of silence. As a mental health therapist, some of my most effective sessions happen when I am quiet; when I don’t say a word for a minute or two. It allows
clients to feel and think before continuing a discussion. It helps them focus on their opinion, not mine.
Maybe we stay overly engaged with activities, both physical and mental because we don’t want to connect with others. Perhaps we don’t like our own company and want a constant diversion. Or, maybe it is a habit, one we have nurtured and endorsed.
The truth is, to be mentally well, we need face to face connection with other humans, need to like hanging out with ourselves, and need to believe bad habits can change.
Try avoiding noise for a set amount of time and sit with your feet up. We need less physical and mental stimulation. Plug your phone into the wall and live without it while you eat. Shut the TV off for an hour each night and enjoy your heartbeat and the refrigerator hum. Silence is relaxing, and sitting is a luxury. As for all screen-time, close them down for an hour before bedtime. Americans have increasingly more difficulty sleeping. Maybe our brains and eyes need a clean break between day and night.
Whatever you do, be aware of any imbalance. Slow down your body and mind and invite yourself into your life. The benefits could be valuable.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wisely said, “The first wealth is health.”
Until the next time: Live while you live.
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