This third category of rest is increasingly important. We are not meant to be connected 24/7. It's addictive. Continual connectivity fires the dopamine reward centre in the brain so the more you check Facebook, the more you want to check Facebook. Each email or text notification ding or tweet lets us know we are needed. Yay! Feels good. We keep doing it like the lab rat pushing the lever to get the sugar syrup reward.
Technology and connectivity have clearly changed life for the better in a very short space of time. We can do things at the touch of a button we couldn't even have dreamed of 10 short years ago. However this modern technology takes a toll on our slower-to-evolve physiology. The third type of rest that supports full mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellness is what I call "flight mode" rest. You know how you have to turn the connectivity off on your phone when you fly because it may interfere with the airplane's flight systems? By turning your phone on to "flight mode" setting it blocks connectivity on your device. It still works but separately to the rest of the world. You can play your music but you can't text or email. It's a forced and necessary period of disconnection from everyone else; you can only tune into your own stuff while you are in the air.
Well, here's the thing. Continual connectivity disrupts our own internal flight navigation system. We get pulled off course from our own life. We get chronic comparisonitus from all the marvellous things everyone else seems to be doing. We are less satisfied with our lot. We worry about stuff out of work hours. We stress about what we are missing out on.
Our focus on tasks, especially long-term projects, is diluted in our increasing search for immediate gratification. We lose sight of where we really want to go in life and stay in reactive mode. If you use your inbox as your To Do list then you are literally letting a stream of random people set your agenda over your time, energy and focus. Continual connection interrupts your internal flight navigation system. Loss of focus and direction is inevitable.
Allow yourself to switch into "flight mode" for a period of time each day to reconnect to yourself; what your body needs; what you truly need to say or action; what's really a priority. Pause and check in with what you are really feeling rather than hiding emotions behind the status symbol of "busy". This is the equivalent of checking your personal navigation system to see if you are on track. Are you happy? Are you engaged in what you are doing? Are you spending your time the way you want to? What do you need right now? Is what you are doing feeling good? Is it in alignment with your values and what you want out of life?
It doesn't take long to reconnect, but it is an essential practice. I recommend a minimum of 15 minutes on "Flight Mode" a day. Fifteen minutes where you are not giving out energy to anyone else, where you are present with yourself. Noticing what's real for you.
Paying attention. Bringing your energy and focus in, instead of radiating it out in myriad different channels. Go for a walk, sans phone. Or eat your lunch and watch the water. Do some journalling. Just stop. Just for 15 minutes. Make a commitment to yourself here:
I will consciously choose _____ minutes of "Flight Mode" rest each__________________. The easiest time in my daily routine to do this is__________________. I will tune into my inner navigation system, be present and check I am on course with what I truly desire in my life, and give thanks for all the good stuff I have in my world.
You will sleep better, feel better, be more relaxed and more focused. "Flight Mode" is the safety mode.
Make a conscious choice to honour your mind and body. Tune into the course of your life and keep yourself on track with where you really want to go.
Louise is a life coach, author and corporate escapee. Visit louisethompson.com for more.