Unplugging or ignoring all electronics for at least a few minutes a day will do wonders for your psyche and productivity.
By Haley Grenwald-Gonella
When is the last time you turned your phone off? Completely off?
Taking a minute for yourself can prove difficult in today’s digital world of non-stop work and multitasking, especially when the internet has provided a multitude of distractions.
However, finding focus and concentrating on your breath is important for your overall health and is something you should find time to do every day.
Engage & Disconnect
If your typical day involves phone calls, voicemails, text messages, emails, online chats, Facebook, Twitter and any other vehicle of digital noise you can think of, then maybe it is time to turn off.
Biz Stone, one of the co-founders of the social networking site Twitter has said that spending up to 12 hours a day on the platform is unhealthy. “I like the kind of engagement where you go to the website and you leave because you’ve found what you are looking for, or you found something very interesting and you learned something.”
Put Away Your Phone
Leslie Perlow, author of “Sleeping with Your Smartphone,” says that smartphones “invade our lives and psyches. More and more frequently these days, people have two modes—on-the-job and on-call.”
This is scary—there is no time set aside to engage our creative selves, let alone to relax, which is very necessary for our bodies to move into a state that is more conducive for better sleep and a normal breath pattern.
Breathe In, Breathe Out
Time to check-in: How are you breathing right now? Is your breath shallow, quick and fast? Or is it even, full, and slow, at a relaxed rate, in time with your heartbeat?
Develop a Routine
Merlin Mann, who developed the concept of “Inbox Zero”—the tagline of which is “Your Email, Your Attention, and Your Life”—says that the most precious resources are “time and attention, [which are both] finite and irreplaceable.”
Inbox Zero isn’t as much about cleaning out your inbox as it is about finding a system and developing a routine surrounding daily life occurrences.
Last year the movement Action for Happiness was founded, and one of its earliest supporters was the Dalai Lama. Advice from the organization suggests that if you want to be happy, you should “elect your boss, take a break from your cell phone and give to charity.”
Even Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, knows when to take a break. She has recently started speaking out about how she leaves the office every day at 5:30 p.m., so that she can have dinner with her children and be involved in her family life. (She returns to her email at 8 p.m.)
Rest and Relax
Practice actively resting—turning off your phone and closing out your email—freeing your life from distractions and digital noise for at least a few minutes each day. Tune into your breath. Relax your jaw and let your tongue fall away from the roof of your mouth. Let your breath rejuvenate your body.
About the Author
After dancing since the age of 3, Haley Greenwald-Gonella thought it was time to try a new art. In elementary school, she began playing the flute and was in the marching band in middle school and for the first two years of high school. She also played the bassoon during concert season. Dance drew Haley back while in high school.
She graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with degrees in dance and English. She recently graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts).
Haley is also a certified registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. She draws upon her dance and yoga training when it comes to all things fitness and the arts.
Halftime Magazine®, a bimonthly print publication and online community, presents the sights, sounds and spirit of the marching arts, providing education, entertainment and inspiration for students, directors, alumni and fans of high school marching band, college marching band, drum corps, color guard and winter guard, indoor drum line or percussion, and all-age ensembles.
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