Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift from God, which is why we call it the present. Bill Keane
It is a mistake that we often repeat - losing focus from the present. In a world where being a multitasker is considered superior, and having the ability to work from almost anywhere, focus is a skill that is tossed aside pretty easily. Our multitasking makes us seem supremely productive on the surface, which is why we have a hard time noticing where the problem lies.
About five years ago, I found myself very distracted and almost agitated by real conversation. I was also addicted to checking my cell phone constantly and it was impacting my attention span and ability to connect with others. I went to my family doctor and they did numerous tests only to call it "general anxiety" and prescribe me pills. It's my personal opinion, with any stress-related illness, try to understand the stress and work on it naturally before taking prescription medication.
So I turned to meditation. I used a meditation app, Insight Timer, and I track my time meditating. I logged over 800 hours of meditation in five years! Although the results were subtle at first, eventually I have found myself much more relaxed, available and my relationships have improved drastically. I also tend to value people more.
Overall, here is what I think. The world around us doesn't like slow and steady but our body needs it. We aren't meant to be constantly multitasking, in a distracted state of mind. We need to balance busyness with inspiration and relaxation.
As humans, we marvel at the wonders that technology has invented for us, like sending instant mails instead of waiting for snail mail, streaming Netflix for unlimited hours, WhatsApping a friend, and Skyping your family, searching for information and opening multiple tabs, the list goes on. Technology has undoubtedly integrated itself into our lives, and it is doing so every single day.
We are not just using smartphones; we are using technology in every aspect of our lives, and this has made us socially conditioned to multitask with the same effortlessness as demonstrated by our gadgets. This has conditioned us to believe that this technological power is a blessing and not a curse. In a Scientific American article, research suggests technology is seriously challenging our relationships.
As a result of this multitasking and this technological dependency, we have become only superficially committed with one another. Even though the technology is pervading our world and is the most vital tool needed in today’s world, we have grown so accustomed to using these gadgets that we have lost touch with other people around us and ourselves almost wholly. Tell me honestly, can you recall the last time you had an in-person conversation with somebody WITHOUT pauses to check your phone?
I had to struggle with this habit myself, but I did, and I now know what the value of real-life conversations are. These gadgets have taken so much of our time that we forget to take a moment and appreciate the things that we have received just because. We forget to express gratitude for people who are around us; we take things for granted. Once again, we fail to notice the blessings we are surrounded by. So how do you make things better?
Remember imperfections are what make us human. Through social media, people tend to only show the good things that are happening to them( ie- 36% of social media selfies are digitally enhanced). I think this can create a lot of shame as people cover up their real problems. Everyone wants validation and approval, this is why selfies are so popular. When I am a leadership keynote speaker for education events, It's disheartening to find out that many young people experience anxiety. They feel pressure to do interesting things and broadcast a digitally enhanced record of it online. This popularity contest is hard to keep up with.
The first step that you need to take is to BREATHE. Relax, take a deep breath and take things one at a time. Start with your house. Take a day off and go out to lunch with your family. You’ll feel better and much more connected once you take some time out.
Work on you. Maybe over the weekend, take a good bath, read and get some rest. Sleep and eat better for a better start to your day. You will notice your mood, things not bothering you that much. You will feel lighter.
Don’t forget hanging out with your friends. Go to a party together, have a heart-to-heart chat with your buddies, it will get your mind off technological stress. It is a fact that when you are with people you like, you don’t feel the kind of pressure bugging you. Instead, you feel in control and connected.
Many people feel loneliness and isolation despite having hundreds of friends on Facebook. Combat this with live conversations or phone calls
Be present. It is the only thing that matters. Remember that! The greatest gift you can give someone is your time