The technological revolution has changed the way we work. In the past decade, with smartphones and tablets, we have become full-on high-tech human beings. Unfortunately, adjusting to the accelerated speed at which we work today isn’t always an easy transition. At times we get thrown off balance and physiologically compromised by a virtual lifestyle that mentally exhausts us and leaves behind our most important resource—our body and its instincts.
Many of us feel pressured in our careers to stay “plugged in” and receive communication 24/7. We move less and stare at screens more. That way of working has become the norm in many workplaces, and more people are feeling out of balance, building stress in their bodies and wrestling with thought and information overload. As a result, our productivity, health and relationships suffer.
Finding a Balance
Many consultants and companies recommend creating work/life balance as a solution by doing things such as adding an extra vacation every year or working from home one day a week, which are both great steps in the right direction. However, people are finding that they are still using their minds most of the time by staying connected to their screens; thinking about work; and stressing over past and future events while at home or even on a tropical vacation.
I lived on Maui for five years and I saw it everywhere, from mad texting going on at luxury resort pools to cellphone conversations on a trail in the Bamboo Forest. It’s hard to unplug! Even on vacation, many people are still over-stimulating their brains and disconnecting from their bodies. So what can we do?
Essential Daily Habits
You need to reboot, just as when you unplug and reboot digital devices when they freeze or act lethargic. When you unplug and regenerate your mind by connecting to your whole body, not just your head, you become more creative and energized.
It’s a choice. Your attention has two primary pathways or directions that it can travel: inward or outward. Most of us tend to prioritize external stimuli and allow what’s going on “out there” (exteroceptive) to dominate our attention. Most of us pay far less attention to the state of our body—and the signals and messages it sends us—because we are focused only on our heads.
5 Tips to Balance Mind & Body
– Be aware of your body, not just your mind, when you are talking on the phone or on your computer. Take a pause and a few deep breaths, and scan your body.
– Keep your head up, and don’t lean into your devices. Have them adjust to you instead of you adjusting to them. For instance, poor posture such as staring down at your phone for several hours straight can cause neck pain and cut off oxygen to your brain.
– Take stretch breaks, during which you move your neck up and down, forward and back, sideways and around.
– Every 30 minutes, take a spot-check to notice if you are crunching, slouching, shaking your legs or even straining your eyes. Get up, shake it out and walk around for a few minutes. Movement opens up new neural nets in the brain, helping to generate new ideas and erase brain fog.
– Practice The Rebooting Technique below twice a day for five to seven minutes each time. A medical study showed that after using this technique for five minutes, people reduced stress by an average of 55 percent.
Take a Personal Assessment
Receive specific written and audio tips and solutions according to your responses, to achieve more mind/body balance in your life and work by visiting wholebodyintelligence.com.
The Rebooting Technique
Step 1: Unplug—Take a few minutes to disconnect from the outside world and all of its pressures. Find a quiet, comfortable place where you will not be interrupted.
Step 2. Breathe—Take three deep breaths in through the nose and out the mouth. On the out breath, loosen your jaw and let go of expression.
Step 3. Observe—Scan your body from head to toe. Take at least 30 seconds to inventory your body experience, including sensations, tensions and posture.
Step 4. Report—Express what you have noticed in your body, either out loud so you may hear your voice, or silently to yourself.
Step 5. Adjust—Allow your body to return to a relaxed state by moving in some way that shakes off or reduces tension. If your shoulders are high up near your ears, relax and lower them.
Step 6. Visualize—Now take a moment to notice if you feel more connected to yourself. Imagine an ocean wave or a wave in your mind’s eye and breathe in and out. Visualization can be a very powerful tool.
Step 7. Reboot—Decide on the next purposeful action that you want to take. Identify your top priority at the moment. Take one more conscious breath, stay focused on your intention and then go do it!
Steve Sisgold has appeared on major radio and TV networks and shows including PBS, Oprah and Monte, and written blogs for Psychology Today. He holds an M.A. in marketing, a B.S. in business and a certification in body-centered psychotherapy. His previous book, What’s Your Body Telling You?, from McGraw-Hill, was No. 1 on Amazon.com in several categories and his recently released book, Whole Body Intelligence, launched as the No. 1 Hot New Release on Amazon.