What an amazing time to be alive, we have power in the palm of our hand to connect with people on the other side of the world in real-time, to simply scroll or swipe to see what friends and strangers are up to, and we can even buy a new TV or groceries without leaving the house. This instant connection should make us happy right? Freeing up time for other fun things? In theory yes, however convenience is leading to addiction and smart phones are leading us down the path of sadness, depression and lack of motivation. Since technology is not going anywhere soon, following are some tips and insights I prepared to help you regain your real-world confidence and connections.
First, a quick demonstration
1) Pick up your phone or iPad as if you were about to send a text or scroll through Facebook
2) Observe your body language; how is your head positioned? Where are you arms? How are your shoulders sitting? How is the alignment of your spine? What is your face doing?
The mind and body is connected, when we feel a certain way, we act a certain way. The reverse is also true; when we act a certain way we feel a certain way. This is the ‘feedback loop’. Our mind can't distinguish between what is and isn’t real. By changing the way you use your body you can actually trick your mind into feeling a certain way. Pretty cool right!
Richard Wiseman carried out a study where participants in an experiment were asked to rate their happiness on a scale of 1 - 10, the participants were then split in to two groups one was asked to hold a pencil between their teeth, not letting their lips touch the pencil, forcing them in to a smile (you can give this a try if you feel the need), the other group were asked to hold the pencil between their nose and top lip forcing them into a kind of a sadness face (basically it looked like a pencil moustache). Participants had to hold these positions for a few minutes. Once time was up, they were asked again to rate their happiness. The smiley pencil group rated themselves as feeling much happier than before, whereas the pencil moustache group came away feeling more negative.
When we feel happy, our faces smile, we are looking up and around our body moves openly. When we are feel confident and motivated, we stand tall with shoulders back and bodies ready to take action.
When we feel sad, we hang our heads and make ourselves smaller by drawing the arms in and across the body; shoulders slump, the spine rounds and our faces lose muscle tension.
When use use our mobile phone, we hang our heads and make ourselves smaller by drawing the arms in and across the body; shoulders slump, the spine rounds and our faces lose muscle tension. It might be subliminal, but technology is making us sad.
Here are some tips on how to mange your happiness in the face of evolving tech:
1. Be consciously aware of how long you spend on your phone (talking or scrolling)
2. Every few minutes, stop, straighten up, look around, and pull your shoulders back and down. If you're sitting, stand up and move around; think of something that will make you smile.
3. Adopt a new 'phone’ stance; try holding the phone in one hand away from your body at eye level
4. If all else fails, use your phone while holding a pencil between your teeth :)
I would love to hear your thoughts and impressions on how technology is impacting your personal happiness.
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Thanks for reading,
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