Whether you love technology or resent it, one thing is certain—technology is here to stay.
At Holden QiGong, we seek to address issues that create stress, anxiety, or discomfort for many individuals. Needless to say, the persistent presence of technology is one such element that can negatively affect our sense of wellbeing.
While technology can certainly be a positive addition to our lives, we must also be very mindful of how we relate to it. Excessive use of phones, computers, or TVs can distort our reality, create stressful thoughts, inhibit our sleep, and undermine our relationships.
Technology is an external energy that can have an extremely powerful effect on our internal energy. If we don’t know how to keep it at bay, its addictive qualities can seep into our lives in unwanted ways.
In this blog post we’ll discuss six important strategies to help you be the master of technology in your life, rather than have it be the other way around.
- Start each day with a healthy morning routine: The first few minutes of your morning can have a huge impact on the rest of your day. If you wake up and immediately check your email or Facebook, your mind and emotions immediately start responding to external energies. This means that your internal energy isn’t directed towards your own personal agenda, but rather, the agenda of the world.
Before taking in external information and energy, spend some time to get rooted in yourself. Ten to thirty minutes of Qi Gong in the morning is a wonderful way to become grounded and energized for your day ahead. Also, maybe spend some time walking in nature or drinking tea to get centered. Once you’ve established your own true intention for your day, you’ll be better able to face the rest of the world with strength and resilience.
- Set an intention before using technology: This may sound complicated, but it’s really quite simple. Before turning on your computer, just spend a moment to decide what you want to do during your time looking at the screen. For example, perhaps you know that your intention is to reply to some emails and spend five minutes looking through Facebook. If you determine your intention beforehand, you’ll be better able to realize when your attention has gone astray. If ten minutes have gone by and you realize that you’re reading a news article you clicked on, perhaps close that tab and get back to what you’re there to do. There’s nothing wrong with reading the news on your computer, but it’s very important to get clear on what your intention is…otherwise you’ll find a million possible ways to spend your time in front of your computer. Of course, the same is true with your smartphone.
- Put technology devices away during mealtime: Even if you may not always be on your phone, it can still command a lot of attention if it’s in your pocket or sitting on the table in front of you. All it takes is a simple text message to interrupt your dinner or pull you away from a lunch conversation. Therefore, it’s a good idea to put your phone away during meals in order to be fully present. Both your food and conversations will have a richer flavor without the interruption of calls or notifications.
- Take frequent breaks during technology use: Anyone who sits in front of a computer for work knows how easy it can be to forget to take breaks. Computers and phones are notorious for being “attention magnets” that make it seem like there’s nothing else that exists in the world. However, looking at a screen for a long time is very depleting to your internal energy. It also contributes to poor posture, since most people use technology while sitting in a chair.
One good recommendation is to set an alarm for 50 minutes before you turn on your computer. At the end of 50 minutes, get out of your chair for 10 minutes to walk, stretch, or do some Qi Gong. Lee always suggests doing the activating exercise called “knocking on the door of life.” There are several other great Qi Gong practices that help you to quickly energize your Qi so you don’t get stagnant during long workdays. Once your “Qi break” is finished, go ahead and keep working at your computer, but not before you set another timer for 50 minutes. Not only is it healthy to take regular work breaks, but it also allows you to work in a more sustainable and productive manner.
- Turn off technology 1 hour before going to bed: It’s been clearly shown that the blue light from phones and computers stimulates your brain and makes it more difficult to sleep. By starting and finishing each day with a brief “tech detox”, you’re able to sleep better at night and experience more energy during the day.
- Use technology for personal growth: We’ve talked a lot about how not to use technology, so we’ll finish with some tips on how to use technology. As we said in the introduction, technology can be a powerful tool that can help us in many ways. It can allow us to access wonderful information and resources that nourish our minds and body. One example would be podcasts or ebooks that help us to learn and grow. While a ringing phone can interrupt your dinner, a phone that is playing a guided meditation can help you relax and recenter. At Holden QiGong, technology is one of our most powerful tools for delivering courses and information to our community. More than likely, you’re reading this blog post on your computer or smartphone. Many of our workshops and immersion programs are offered online, making technology one of our primary allies for sharing Qi Gong with other practitioners around the world. Having a healthy relationship with technology doesn’t mean you don’t use it…it simply means that you use it in ways that nourish you rather than deplete you. Using technology for personal growth is a wonderful thing.
While this blog post is written primarily for adults, many of the same lessons apply to children as well. With kids, parents should be especially careful about how they use computers, smartphones, and TVs. In addition to the points mentioned above, it is wise for parents to make sure that technology doesn’t replace playing outside. It’s very important that children stay active and enjoy all of the wonderful activities that kids are made for—exploring nature, building sandcastles, and running across the playground.
Lee suggests that parents set clear boundaries about how much time their children can spend with technology. Also, they should be sure that babysitters follow the same guidelines to ensure that expectations are consistent and clear. Childhood is an important stage of growth and development, so it’s essential that children use their bodies and minds in a variety of ways.
If you’re interested in cultivating a regular Qi Gong practice, be sure to check out Lee’s Thirty Day Challenge. Also, even if you already have a strong practice, the program is a wonderful way to learn more routines that you can use anytime you want to get a fresh boost of energy.
The Thirty Day Challenge includes thirty unique lessons that are each seven minutes in length. This ensures that it’s easy to stay consistent regardless of what is going on in your life. Each class can also be used as a nourishing little “Qi break” when you’re working on your computer. Whether you’re an experienced practitioner or just getting started, the Thirty Day Challenge is a wonderful addition to your Qi library.
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Written by Ian Drogin