As many of you are aware matchesfashion.com is one of my favourate shops in the world! Their shops are amazing and their online Wellness Report is one of my go-to’s for all the latest on fashion, wellness, travel and so much more. I always love working with them and this week they gave me a call to ask if I would write an article for them about technology and how we can use it to balance our mind. This was a great article to write and I hope you like it…
As a life coach, I spend a lot of my time talking about switching off, unplugging and generally taking a break from technology. One of my favourite sayings is: ‘Anything will work again once it’s been unplugged for a little while, including you.’ We live in a 24/7 world where we are constantly connected, and yet if we do not learn how to be in charge of our tech, it can take total charge of us. Many of us are unable to switch off and we blame technology for our anxiety to ‘keep up’, although it isn’t the technology that is to blame. We just haven’t mastered it. I like to think of technology like a puppy that you have to train to work with you, not against you. In other words, you set the rules and the boundaries, not the other way around. It is always up to us to choose how ‘connected’ we want to be with a little conscious thinking. This year, resolve to take control of your tech and be calmer in the process.
Why not start with an app that makes you re-connect, instead of disconnect? A great place to start for calm and clarity is Headspace (headspace.com). It’s a meditation app you simply download and listen to for 10 minutes every day. The benefits of meditation reportedly include higher energy, more focus and greater productivity, leading to a calmer state of mind. Production of the stress hormone cortisol is decreased, meaning the body is able to deal with stress better when it does occur. Seventy-five per cent of insomniacs who started a daily meditation programme were able to fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed, while 60% of anxiety-prone people showed marked improvements in anxiety levels after six to nine months. In short, it brings a little peace in a busy world.
Relying on convenient voiceless communication, such as messaging apps, can mean that subtle nuances get lost and relationships can become more detached over time. Messages can be misconstrued and ‘read receipts’ can lead to feelings of rejection if they are not responded to with expedience. Our wellbeing is based on human connection and face-to-face interaction, so even if physical contact is not possible, video-calling apps such as FaceTime or Skype will help nurture that human connection, and thus counter feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day boosts the body’s circadian rhythm and promotes good-quality sleep. It’s like brain training for the conscious and the subconscious. The bedroom is one place where switching off your tech is always a good idea – blue light, from mobile phones and other devices, boosts attention, which is counter-productive at night time and can lead to anxiety, insomnia and poor-quality sleep. But you can use your tech to your advantage – which is where the iPhone comes in. Apple’s new ‘bedtime’ function will help you keep your daily routine on track. You simply answer a few simple questions to set up a recurring wake-up alarm and a reminder when it’s bedtime.
Place a firm focus on your mental health for 2017, no matter how busy you feel. If you are struggling with relationships or want to learn how to live a happier, more conscious life, you can make time in even the tightest of schedules with an online course, such as The Life Class (thelifeclass.com). Even five minutes’ training on your journey to work each day will make a real difference over time. It is about arming your mind with the tools and techniques to rid yourself of perceived barriers and start living a happy, fulfilled life.
Jacqueline Hurst is a life coach and founder of The Life Class, and is based in London (jacquelinehurst.com)