Chapter 1, UNPLUG
So, I guess there’s no news that we run and are run by social media. Most of the places we go, the people we meet, the food we eat, will somehow end up and be found on Instagram.
We have this pressure to make other people value our time more than we do ourselves. We compete about who can pretend to enjoy their lunch or holiday more than the other instagrammer. We are more drawn to “Instagram-friendly” places and only just for that, Instagram.
We compare who has the best filtered sunset or sunrise, who has the skinniest, more tanned and toned body (usually done with Face tune or other similar apps) the list can be made long.
And as little as we all like to admit, we do it – whilst complaining on others exact same behaviour and tools for perfection and recognition.
Don’t get me wrong – I love Instagram and all of its benefits, connections and opportunities that it brings, but it’s easy to forget that it’s just that, an online CV, match maker and friend finder. It’s not reality. If we use it right- wonderful opportunities and relationships might arise, but if we use it wrong then we might end up losing so much more than we could ever benefit and gain. The higher the high, the lower the low.
We tend to lose focus on what really matters; genuity, authenticity and reality – we see all this shimmer that isn’t gold and we compare, we judge, we love and we hate. We belittle ourselves and others based on amounts of followers or likes.
We admire and get impressed based on a number (many times even fake numbers) rather than a person with real traits.
Instagram has become one of the biggest obstacles for living in the moment and for finding, or/and obtaining our inner peace.
I have struggled myself, and I’m still struggling at times with separating reality with this fiction. I often tend to identify myself with my username and the content which I choose to post, instead of manifesting who I truly am to my friends, family, colleagues and even strangers. We create a version of ourselves we wish, strive and work so hard for. But for what? A few free samples? Attention from people we don’t care about? All this while losing what we really do care and live for. We always have our focus and mind on the next post, next success and next goal. But who would we be without this? Who would YOU be if the world was blind and couldn’t see what you ate for lunch, your outfit of the day or the luxury villa you stayed at during your holiday?
My goal with this column is to help You.
To help you to be present and to live in the moment. To help you unplug.
It will take practice and hard work with yourself, on yourself, for yourself.
But as they say; nothing worth having comes easy and if it was easy, then everyone would be doing it. So be patient, it really is a virtue.
I will guide you step by step with each post, going a little deeper each time. But for now, let’s start from square one. Unplug.
Studies at Harvard University shows that the blue lights from our iPhones, iPads and all other electronic throws our biological sleep rhythm (the circadian rhythm) out of its loop and disturbs our natural melatonin production. In 1981 Dr. Charles Czeisler of Harvard Medical School showed that the daylight is keeping our internal clock aligned with the environment, which we disturb with our constant man-made light. There are actually studies that show that this blue light not only make our sleep suffer, but also our health. The scientist does not yet know why, but a lower amount of the sleeping hormone melatonin can cause different types of diseases such as cancer, obesity and diabetes. The participants result of the research showed that their blood sugar levels were increased, putting them into a pre-diabetic state and the leptin levels (the hormone that makes us feel full after eating), went down.
Everyone knows how cranky and moody we get if we don’t get a good night’s sleep, right? Sleep will affect our overall feelings and emotions, so my first and most important step for mindfulness is to unplug, beginning with 2-3 hours before going to bed, to reduce anxiety, stress, nightmares/insomnia and other physical health issues.
A great tip is to use red, more warm and natural lights after sunset. You could light some candles around where you are, put some nice and relaxing music on, or maybe take a bath and just spend some time with yourself. Don’t worry if you can’t enjoy it and find this relaxing at first, don’t judge yourself if you just have to do one or two more quick updates before going to bed. We are only humans, after all, and we cannot expect change overnight.
You will hear many of your thoughts the first week or weeks which can disturbing or pleasant, depending on how you are feeling at the time.
The need of control and the ego will be there; hence why I think most of us escape to the online world, to silence it all… But listen to what it all says, don’t judge, just listen to what you hear and think, negative as positive and if you want to keep a record of your progress – write it all down!
I hope you will find what I’ve shared useful as a soft start. Now, unplug and spend some time with yourself! You wouldn’t cancel a meeting with your boss, so why would you cancel a meeting with yourself?
In the next step I will guide you into the first step of mindfulness, controlling your thoughts, and meditation for beginners.
Namaste, Iso x