According to research, more people in North America use the internet than people in Africa, Asia and Latin America combined. While computers, cellphones and other electronic gadgets offer numerous benefits, it’s important to unplug from technology from time to time. Taking a break from the digital world allows people to unwind and better connect with themselves and others. Here are ten relaxing ways to disconnect from digital technology.
1. Practice yoga. Considered a mind-body practice, yoga blends mental and physical disciplines to create a sense of peace and tranquility. In addition, yoga helps tone the body, promotes better balance and improves sleep.
2. Introduce a weekly game night. Spending time playing cards or board games allows family members and/or friends to connect in meaningful ways and enjoy relaxing conversation.
3. Spend time in nature. There is nothing like a warm breeze, a bird's song, and the beauty of nature to disconnect from digital technology. What's more, sunlight helps boost the mood and encourages good bone health by providing the body with a daily dose of natural vitamin D.
4. Purchase an adult coloring book. Using colored pencils or markers to fill in intricate designs allows adults to channel their inner child. Coloring keeps people focused on the present moment and promotes a sense of calm.
5. Get a massage. Studies on emergency room staff show that a 15-minute massage can lower job-related anxiety from 65 percent in winter and 54 percent in summer to just 8 percent no matter the season. Adding essential aromatic oils like chamomile and lavender make massage even more relaxing.
6. Enjoy a hot bath. Sinking into a tub of hot water soothes the mind as well as the body. People can use products like bath salts, bath pillows, and candles to make a home bathroom spa-like and tranquil.
7. Take the dog for a walk. A 20-minute walk can help reduce stress by boosting endorphins, the 'feel-good' neurotransmitters in the brain. In addition, walking offers owners and dogs an opportunity for quality bonding.
8. Meditate. Studies show that meditation helps lower heart rate and blood pressure, and it doesn't cost anything to practice. To experience calming effects, people just need a quiet, comfortable space from which to focus on breathing for ten minutes or more.
9. Keep a journal. Writing about daily problems allows many people to let go of them. Others prefer to jot down things for which they are grateful. Both techniques are therapeutic and calming.
10. Take a catnap. Short periods of rest can reduce help reduce stress. Naps of 20 minutes or less encourage relaxation without affecting nighttime sleep.
While some people can't imagine taking a break from their electronic devices, unplugging is important for peace of mind and human connection. Any of the methods mentioned above allow people to disconnect from digital technology in minutes at very little or no expense, and many offer benefits that go well beyond stress relief.