unplug

Ever been out at your favorite bar or restaurant, eating your favorite food, surrounded by your favorite people, and yet, all you can think to do is hop online and see what everyone else is doing?

Why do we do that?!

Somewhere between the 24-hour news cycle, our disappearing attention spans, and those ever-present social media accounts we have created a mouse wheel for ourselves that keeps us running in place, no matter where we’re going. We desperately want to slow down, but we have no idea how to! We want to accomplish something, but we’re inundated with distractions. We want to genuinely experience things, but experiences are so easily packaged and shared that documenting is replacing experiencing. Is there a social media doctor in the house? I think we’ve got a bad case of the #FOMOs, or “fear of missing out” for all you readers not up-to-date on the latest medical disorders (joke, it’s not one… yet). Here are a few simple ideas that might help fight that incessant urge to go-go-go and snap-post-like.

1) Take Time Without the Phone – This isn’t going to be easy. Whether it’s your regular trip to the gym, or a single meal a week, go without that technological tether and try to pay attention to your surroundings instead. Un-plug and leave it in your car (just in case someone is trying to reach you for an honest-to-God emergency).

2) Meditate – Yeah, it sounds silly at first, but we’re guessing thousand-year-old traditions honed by monks aren’t exactly a waste of time. Whether it’s a simple breathing exercise, or a meditation class, these simple challenges help us grow in surprising and exciting ways by allowing us to actually process the emotions, thoughts and situations that we come across every day.

3) Practice Silence – Most individual’s car-rides are a cavalcade of snacks and phone calls and music and podcasts. Pick a time of the week and drive in silence. If it’s irritating and nerve-wracking, it’s worth considering why that is.

4) Marvel at Mundanity – Doing something simple and repetitive sounds exhausting and dumb, but give it a try. It could be scrubbing the inside of the oven or folding laundry. Focus on the task and only the task, and abandon any other thoughts until later. A simple repetitive act can be a calming and peaceful way to take a break from everyday stress. Like Miyagi-san says, wax on, wax off.

5) Enjoy the View – Find a good view, whether it’s a sprawling city, a pristine beach, or a snow-capped mountain range and just take it in. No need to document the moment, just sit and enjoy. The act is inherently humbling and triggers introspection, which everyone can use once in a while.