I guess it’s a bit ironic to encourage you to disconnect as one of the first posts for this blog, but hear me out. Hopefully you will agree… and then learn how to disconnect while being connected!
Turn off the TV, cell phone, and any other distractions you may have in your life. Close your eyes and for the next two minutes, try to empty your mind and just concentrate on feeling alive. Just sit or lie down and feel grateful for being alive.
How does that feel? I’m guessing it’s not easy. When I started doing this, instantly all the things I had to do would creep into my mind and make me feel guilty or negligent for taking a few moments for myself. Hopefully your experience was more positive and relaxing. Ask yourself if it felt like it should or could. If not, then let’s work on that! It should feel cleansing and be an opportunity to connect to yourself.
Modern life is full of perpetual distractions. There are normal distractions like phone calls, advertisements, TV, radio, and many more. But we now have many more intrusive distractions, such as Facebook or Twitter and always being connected through your cell phone. These can subtly be overwhelming.
The first step to learning how to disconnect is to schedule 5-15 minutes for yourself every day. No, time in the car, bathroom, or bed don’t count. Really schedule the time and make it consistent. Even if it’s only five minutes at first, make those five minutes count! In that time think of the positive things that have occurred that day, or better yet, try not to think at all and focus on your breathing. Sit, reflect, meditate, and disconnect. The goal is to feel more relaxed than before you started.
In the beginning, this will all be difficult and you may feel like it’s silly. But give it a week, or two weeks and see if you don’t start seeing some benefit to the exercise. The point is to give yourself some time, some control over the day. You schedule time and meetings with everyone else during the day except yourself. It’s time to change that.
Love yourself in this time and make it a positive and rewarding experience.
Another thing you can do is set a rule that you only check email once per day, or you only check facebook twice a week. The world won’t end and you can take pride in scheduling these activities instead of them constantly distracting you.
Part of taking the plunge to a happier life is regaining ownership over your life. In doing this exercise, I hope you can create a comfortable zone for those 5-15 minutes. You could extend that to 15-30 minutes once you get good at it, or add a physical component to it like yoga or Tai Chi. But most of all, by getting used to this feeling I hope you can learn to enter this comfortable zone at any time. If you are really stressed out at work, then go somewhere quiet (or even right there at your desk) and enter this zone to calm down. In time, I hope you can live in this comfortable zone. With enough practice it’s possible!
Life is like a constant train ride. It’s important to get off the train and figure out where you are before jumping back on to continue the journey. That’s what you’re doing here. And before you know it, you will be the conductor of the train engineering life on your terms!
How do you disconnect? Please comment below or share your story by clicking on the menu at the top of the page!