This is a guest post by Michael Shook.
There is no doubt the digital world we live in is taking a toll on our lives. The energy we invest into keeping up with our emails, texts, and social media notifications comes at the expense of the other more “real” parts of our lives.
Being connected is important; but it’s not more important than the other portions of our lives. An electronic life is not a substitute for living in the real world.
Numerous studies have shown that many people report feeling lost, alienated and lonely. In the reports of a study conducted by health insurer Cigna, and published in May 2018, the majority of Americans, especially millennials report that they feel lonely.
In a time when people are supposedly more connected than at any other time in history, the number of people who feel isolated is rising.
That’s not a very healthy way to live.
Zzz Here are three tips you can use to get connected back to the real world and live a life that’s brimming with vitality.
1111 – Spend more time interacting in the real world than in the electronic world.
We can’t really predict the exact amount of minutes we’re going to spend interacting online each day. In fact, you might be online all the time. While you might not interact every minute, you can instantly connect to someone or something any time you want.
It used to be that when you had a phone; it lived in your kitchen or living room. Your computer lived somewhere specific because there was no battery or Wi-Fi.
Now we carry our phones around with us inside our homes. We’re afraid of missing out.
Try these ideas to live more in the real world:
Pick a spot in your house to leave your electronics and leave them there.
Don’t eat with your phone nearby.
Don’t text people between rooms in your house.
Write your grocery list on a piece of paper and use that when you are shopping.
Get an alarm clock that doesn’t do anything except tell time and wake you up.
2222 – Touch more people and animals in a physical way.
One of the best ways to interact with people in the course of a day is simply by shaking hands.
If you live somewhere this is unacceptable, then don’t do this.
Lots of places though, are perfectly acceptable for using this simple form of greeting. It’s an easy way to interact with another person without being threatening.
I used to shake hands with my students and with the other adults at my school. It was simple and engaged people in a human way. Some days I would have a line of students waiting to shake hands and say hi.
You can do this in other parts of the day too. I shake hands with employees at the grocery store. It’s easy, not complicated and puts people in touch with the world going on around them. AS a side benefit, people remember who I am when I go into the store, and sometimes even come over to greet me first.
In a similar way, sitting with your dog or cat, and petting their fur can make your day better. Of course, you don’t want to do this with strange animals, but with your own animal friends there is nothing quite as soothing as sitting with your cat on your lap or your dog snuggled up next to you.
Do not watch TV, look at your phone or try to play games on your computer at the same time you are interacting with your pet.
The animals will feel your lack of attention to them and you will miss out on the fun of being with them.
3333 – When you eat, don’t do anything except eat.
Don’t read your email, play games on your device, or look for bargains on Amazon. Don’t talk on the phone, don’t text, don’t chat, don’t livestream.
Put a bite in your mouth, chew it until it’s all chewed up and then swallow it.
Sounds simple, you would wonder why this is even an issue. In fact, when you see other people eat, they are often engaged in some other activity.
Enjoying eating can center your life more easily than almost any other activity.
Now there are two caveats to this. The first is, if you are on a date, don’t ignore your date. The second is that when you are sharing a meal with your family, pay some attention to them too.
But otherwise, eating is a fun and fundamental way to connect with the world.
It’s not that everyone has forgotten how to live in the world; it’s more like there seems to be so much to do that we need to multi-task our lives. When we do this we lose out.
Take a chance and follow some of the ideas in this article. They can help you connect more with the real world around you and in turn this will help you feel more alive.
Michael Shook is known as the Internet’s Most Positive Blogger. Together with his wife, Susan, they have created ALifeOfLight.com with a simple idea in mind. They help people feel better by offering positive writing, ideas, programs, images, videos, and anything else they can think of or find online that will help you live the life of your dreams. And they do this without espousing any particular religious or spiritual tradition. Click on over to their site and try out their inspiring daily messages bringing a bit of awesome positivity into your life each day.