Melbourne Functional Medicine
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Today I want to spend just a few minutes sharing some insights and tips into technology - specifically how and what to change in order to upgrade your well-being. Let's call this a brief lesson in how to improve your presence in your own life (and reduce stress - let's not forget stress).
Tech is amazing – it gives us access to the whole world – 24/7. It means we can work anywhere in the world and stay in touch with people we would otherwise lose to distance. The latest innovations see us turning on a stove remotely (as in, from anywhere on the planet) and asking your shower to turn on with a verbal cue. While tech is moving us forward like never before, it's clear that there are some ways in which it is also creating unhealthy habits. Today I'm sharing with you my tips of how you can use tech to your advantage.
I’m a lover of tech but realised only recently that I was being held to ransom - it was an ongoing ransom that saw me trapped by an ever-demanding captor. I couldn't resist. I couldn't stay away. It took hours of my life every single day.
I know that not everyone is on the socials (that's what the kids call them, I think), but for those of us who are, do you have a true appreciation for how they take time, energy, and most importantly 'presence' away from your actual physical life - your reality? It's a real issue - particularly socially. I am using the following tech hacks to deal with this.
Remove social media from your phone. Delete it. Log out. Don't even have the temptation to gaze. When Nicole at the clinic told me that she had taken Instagram off her phone my first reaction was panic. Well if that's not a sign that it needs to be removed pronto! I've got to say, life is better without it. I can eat a meal without needing good lighting, I don't feel like I'm always on the hunt for photo-worthy moments and I feel free from the scroll. The scroll!!!!
Facebook. Equally a zapper of the most valuable commodity on earth - your time. Delete. I now check it maybe twice a day on my computer instead of absentmindedly on my phone. Phew!
Suspend all alerts and notifications. If you want to be 'in the moment', you'll need to remove those clicks, buzzes, and banners that dominate your home screen. They are distractions that will take you away from where you are. They trap you into thinking (and behaving like) everything is urgent. A balanced approach looks like checking your emails on your laptop or computer several times a day. Phone calls and texts will still come through, just not all of the waffle.
No phones at the table (so much easier to implement now that Insta has been deleted!). This one is more of a social courtesy - and the people at the table will thank you for it. Now, when I say no phones I don't mean 'phones on the table face down' or 'phones in a neat stack in the middle'. I mean 'phones in your bag on silent'. Freaky!!!
Simon Sinek tells us that even someone else's phone on the table (face down on silent) lights up excitatory parts of YOUR brain - anticipation - the reward part of your brain just waiting for that thing to happen. Some would say its common courtesy to have phones off the table but look around the next time you're eating socially and notice how far most of us have slipped. Nothing says "I value your company" like eye contact and attention. Nothing says 'you're not the most important thing to me right now' like anyone on any device. Ever. Simon talks about the implications of phones in a social context here.
Calm.com. This app will give you access to the calmest, most zen moments in your day.
Yep, we love this meditation app for so many reasons including guided mediations, silent meditations, lessons, strategies, techniques, rewards for effort and consistency.
Phones in the bedroom. Do you keep your phone by your bed? Is it because it's your alarm clock? Well, science is stacking up the data on all of the ways that cellphones in the bedroom are harmful. This study talks about the damage to antioxidant systems by oxidative stress by EMF (electromagnetic frequencies). More pressing than that, EMFs that your phone emits can disrupt melatonin, which is not only your 'sleepy hormone' but is simultaneously one of your most powerful antioxidants.
Sleep advocate Arianna Huffington spruiks the benefits of a good night's sleep to the world's executives. The ‘Type As’. Those who, largely, sleep least. Arianna tells us that if your phone is on your bedside table and you happen to wake at 2am....what are you likely to do? Check out the news, see what's on Facebook, go over your emails... all of the things you should NOT be doing.
Between the distraction and the health implications of phones in the bedroom, the best advice across the board is to charge your phone in another room while you gently slumber. For those concerned about waking up, you can buy an alarm clock at a very low price. They successfully woke people for decades!
Tip six is specific. Many of our patients have needed to dig deep to find out what's going on 'under the hood'. One of the tests we run is called the KBMO Food Inflammation Test. This tip is relevant only for those who have done this test. With humble thanks to a patient who told me this (because technology truly isn't my superpower). When your results came through, the folks at KBMO sent you an email with a link to your data on their app. Great - now I don't need to try and recall at all times the foods that came up on my list. What I didn't realise, though, is that on the main screen each item has a little right arrow next to it. Click on this and it'll take you to a new page with any cross-reactive foods, where you will come across your inflammatory food, other terms for this food and alternatives. So much great information!
If we make a conscious move to disentangle ourselves from the trappings of technology, we will engage with others more honestly, have more ‘empty mind’ time (an important part of creativity) and be in a much better position to use intuition and be aware of ourselves – self-awareness that is not distorted by the distractions of tech.
Happy sky gazing!