Digital Diet: The Doable Alternative to a Digital Detox | The Health Sessions

The Digital Diet: A Doable Alternative to a Digital Detox

“You have 263 unread messages.”

Did you come back from your Summer break only to find yourself flooded with work mail?

Smartphone stress is real. Countless of studies have been published about the downsides of the latest technology –  from stress and sleeping problems to anxiety, depression and disturbed body image.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed with email or keeping up with social media, the common advice is to consider a digital detox – taking a (radical) break from checking Instagram, WhatsApp and news feeds. Hey, I dedicated a blog post to it myself.

But recently I read something interesting in the Dutch Psychologie Magazine. Do we really need to force ourselves offline to find peace or is there a way to get the benefits from smartphones whilst avoiding the pitfalls?

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Two Birds, One Stone: 4 Healthy Habits with Multiple Benefits | The Health Sessions

Two Birds, One Stone: 4 Healthy Habits with Multiple Benefits

Healthy living can feel like a lot of work, especially when you start your wellness journey with full enthusiasm, trying to add every advice to your health repertoire: moving your body regularly, upgrading your food pattern, quitting bad habits like smoking or drinking, adopting natural wellness rituals and a daily meditation practice.

How do you find the time and energy to fit that all into your already busy schedule?

Well, partly it’s a matter of setting priorities of course. We’re all guilty of mindlessly browsing the net, binge-watching series and being busy for busy’s sake. If that’s the case, you could try things like the Power Hour Method to get a healthy head start on your day. But if you lack the necessary ‘spoons’ to do so – or you have little ones running around who make a dedicated morning routine impossible – you can also add multifunctional healthy habits to your day.

A multifunctional habit is a helpful behaviour that serves more than one purpose. In other words, you get multiple health benefits from performing one single routine. 

For example, by doing your groceries on foot, you combine a necessary chore with a brisk walk, fresh air and hopefully some sunshine. Plus, you can’t thoughtlessly throw ‘great discount offers’ of not-so-healthy food items in your shopping cart, because you’ll have to be able to carry everything home eventually.

So which multifunctional habits could help you lead a healthier lifestyle in an effortless way? 

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Relaxing from Head to Toe: The Mindful Body Scan

Relaxing from Head to Toe: The Mindful Body Scan | The Health Sessions

 

This post is an excerpt from my upcoming e-book “How to Create Your Own Action Plan for Recovery“. If you want to stay updated on the release of the book, sign up for weekly newsletters from The Health Sessions here

 

All day long, your senses are bombarded with information – sights, sounds, smells. Your brain is constantly busy selecting and interpreting these stimuli, storing what’s important into your long – term memory.

Turning your attention inwards instead of to the world around you has several benefits for your health.

Brain studies suggest that observing what’s happening inside of you – your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations – taps into a different part of your brain than watching the outside world does. Instead of solely relying upon the frontal lobes of the neocortex, focusing on your feelings also activates evolutionary older parts of your brain that are associated with emotional reactions and the integration of physical experiences. It’s that bypass of the thinking and judging parts of your brain that makes mindfulness such an effective method to find your calm when you can’t seem to stop your racing thoughts.

Learning to tune into your body also allows you to pick up signals of stress, pain and exertion before these symptoms become (too) serious.

A mindful body scan is a powerful way to get in touch with your body and really notice what you’re sensing, without judging or trying to change what’s happening within. At first glance, a body scan might seem like you’re just lying down doing nothing. But it involves a little more than that. Because while your body is resting, your mind goes on a guided tour from your toes to your head, pausing at each part and paying attention to what you’re feeling.

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How to Stop Ruminating: Thinking Things Through, Distraction or Mindfulness?

How to Stop Overthinking: Rumination, Distraction & Mindfulness | The Health Sessions

 

“I don’t understand why this is happening to me.”

“God, I’m such a loser for blowing that presentation. What must my colleagues think of me?”

“It’s not fair! Why did he do that to me?”

 

We’ve all been there. In your mind, you keep going over that argument with your friend or the stupid mistake you made, thinking about what you should have done differently.

You try to make sense of the confusing or upsetting situation by meticulously thinking it through. And normally, that kind of reflection can give you new insights, help you learn and improve, so it won’t happen a second time. But when rehashing the negative experience takes over your thoughts, like a broken record that plays the same lyrics again and again, it becomes a serious risk for your health and happiness.

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Mindful Micro-Breaks: How to Recharge Yourself Within Minutes

Mindful Micro-Breaks: How to Recharge Yourself Within Minutes
Photo by Adam Stones

 

Confession time.

Lately I’ve become the walking cliche of someone who’s glued to their smartphone.

Ever since my active, catnapping daughter was born, I’ve hardly had more than a few minutes to myself most days. Not knowing when those rare moments of peace would occur and how long they would last, I’d often mindlessly grab my phone to recharge by scanning social media, catching up on the news or reading interesting blog posts. Sure, it makes a nice change from changing diapers and singing nursery rhymes when other forms of relaxation are not really an option. But is staring at a screen honestly the best way to decompress and boost my energy?

Online entertainment has become a welcome distraction from our hectic schedules. With an endless supply of cat GIFS, Buzzfeed lists or inspirational TED – talks at our fingertips, no matter where we are of what we’re doing, we’ve started to fill in every small gap of time in our day with some kind of (online) activity.

For example, how often do you find yourself scrolling through your Twitter feed when your dinner partner has gone to the bathroom? Do you always put on your headphones as you’re walking down the street? Or do you instantly pull out your phone if you have to wait anywhere, even if it’s just for a few minutes?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the freedom, inspiration and social connections that the Internet and mobile devices have brought us. But I do wonder, is using online entertainment to relax always the best choice? I mean, how much does checking Facebook really revitalise you? 

What if you would spend those small pockets of spare time during your busy day doing something that truly recharges your body and mind? Ok, it won’t feel the same as lying on a tropical beach or having a luxurious spa day, but you can bring a little peace to your frantic day with mindful micro-breaks.

Have a look at these 7 effective ways to recharge yourself within minutes.

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