The Digital Diet for Mental and Physical Health

Distractions Everywhere

Often times, anxiety comes about because of exposure to either mental or physical distractions.  These modern day distractions are plentiful and do not let up without our intervention.  Specifically, the items that most trigger my anxiety come in two categories, tangible distractions such as tech devices big and small, and noise, usually in the form of audible news on television or the Internet, or the verbal chatter of people.  The latter also includes everyday background noises such as the dishwasher or the lawnmower running outside your house.

Wherever these verbal and nonverbal distractions may come from, they all catch and hold our attention for an unnecessary amount of time.  Further, the actual content of the messages or noise can grab at the mind even more and leave you with worries long after.  My anxiety can sometimes take this path and then go out of control.  This is when I turn to yoga and breathing practices to bring me back to earth.  Speaking of earth, the kind of distractions I mention here do not include sounds of nature, such as walking through a forest.  These kinds of sounds can have the opposite effect and sooth rather than distract.

Devices interrupt the circadian rhythm

Any kind of back-lit technology device lowers the amount of melatonin in the body, causing your sleep cycle to be off.  Without a proper and consistent amount of sleep day to day, anxiety (among many other negative conditions) may increase.  It is around 7 pm when the body begins to secrete melatonin to make you sleepy. Around 8:30 pm is when digestion starts to slow down.

Inadequate sleep is also closely tied to increased stress and weight gain.  It is a good rule of thumb that for every hour of exercise done during the day, you should plan to tack on one extra hour of sleep at night.

Apply a nighttime routine and stick to it

My routine at bedtime includes turning off all devices (or moving them to another room) about an hour before I plan to fall asleep.  I may do some easy restorative yoga, yoga nidra, meditation, or read a physical book until I’m ready to fall asleep.  Whatever the activity may be, I avoid watching the news and anything that involves a tech device.  I want to have positive and relaxing thoughts in my head as this will help prepare my mind for sleep.  A this is a “routine”, it is also helpful to start this routine at the same time every night.  For times when my mind continues to race, even after doing these things, I will turn to a good sleep yoga nidra recording to help me fall asleep.  Note that exercising at night could be a stimulant, so you should avoid it right before bedtime. On occasion, I may make some hot herbal non-caffeinated tea (chamomile or valerian root), or take some passionflower or melatonin in tablet form.  It is also important to keep your bedroom relatively dark using black-out curtains as well as having a wooden bed.  The wood bed (versus a metal bed) will help deter EMFs further even after turning off or removing electronic devices.  Do anything you can to make your bedroom have a calm, restful and peaceful feeling.  This is so important to lower stress and anxiety, leading to better sleep.

Yoga to take your mind away from distractions

Yoga Nidra For Anxiety

Sleep Yoga Nidra Meditation Podcast

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