A recent article in ‘The Week’ magazine entitled, ‘The Text Neck’ refers to an ‘epidemic’ that is worth becoming aware of – the craze of texting – which for some has devolved
into a dependency behavior. The latest research on the topic by back surgeons has concluded that those who are constantly looking down at their phones to text are subject to neck cramps, pinched nerves, herniated discs and even early degeneration of the spine especially in the younger generation.
The reason for the effect is quite logical when we think about how our bodies are designed. The normal head weighs between 10-12 pounds. Using computer modeling the researches found that when the head is angled or bowed at 60 degrees (looking down from an upright position to text for example) the strain on the neck increases to 60 pounds – about the weight of four bowling balls! Our bodies simply cannot support that weight over time.
For those who have become addicted to texting (yes – this has become a recognized addiction which has even been linked to increased depression) maybe it’s time to share this information with them. The data is in – permanent physical damage can happen when texting becomes habitual. Further, when we replace active engagement with other people to mere texting we lose our ability to read social cues or develop a stronger sense of self.
When someone creates a limited comfort zone around them using texting as the main way to communicate with the rest of the world they become less rather than more. Real communication cannot be reduced to a quirky three or four word response. Deeper, more engaged communication is critical for healthy family relationships as well as success in the work place. But how does someone develop the critical skills of active communication if they don’t practice them continuously in the real world setting?
Often we can observe families at restaurants or on the mall and the parents as well as the kids are not interacting with each other but are busy texting or playing a game on their phones. The opportunity for true human connection is lost as their fingers tap out their current abbreviated comment to someone – anyone – and they anxiously await a response.They seem to be saying to themselves … ‘I am important to someone out there – just watch and ‘they’ will respond to my latest comment.’ Their phone has become their ‘go to friend’ and they have become so dependent upon it that they can have a melt down if their battery is low. Really?
The benefit of this powerful technology cannot be downplayed. It has changed the world for the better. It can make us more efficient and effective when we need to communicate with someone quickly and even allows us to share something funny with a friend without interrupting them at the precise moment we send our text. However, like anything in life the question boils down to balance and moderation. If those two concepts sound a bit boring to you – think about living without them in your life. Not a pretty picture!
If each of us would consider these implications in our own lives and take the time to gently encourage our family members to consider them as well we would improve our ability to communicate authentically and see the deeper value in the human experience.
If you try to discuss these points with someone you care about who seems to have become addicted to texting and they refuse to listen or engage in the discussion you know you have hit a nerve. That can be a good thing if you don’t give up. After all, we know that sometimes a point needs to be repeated four or five times to get through to a reluctant learner. Don’t we owe it to those we truly care about to share information that would help them in the long run?
Have a great few days!
Personal reflection is a good thing to do once in a while. Often we are so busy doing we forget to stop, inhale deeply and think about what we have lived through and accomplished. Give yourself a few minutes to think about your life over the past five years. What are the major things, the good, the bad and the ugly that you experienced? We usually don’t see events coming and when the great ones happen we are surprised, relieved and grateful. When the really tough ones hit us they can bring us to our knees. Yet through it all consider this, you are still alive to tell the tale! That’s an indicator of just how strong you really are inside.
We all have moments of self doubt and worry – it’s what makes us human. But you might want to consider the approach of a quick review of what you have lived through and learned from the next time you are feeling stressed, worried or unsure if you can handle another challenge in your life. Your track record serves as a powerful reminder. It is the concrete evidence that proves you are capable of anything because you have made it to this point in your life and learned from the events. You have shown balance in your purpose and determination in you achievements. You are a strong person and no one can ever take that away from you.
You might be thinking… but what about tomorrow or next week… I have this thing coming up and I’m unsure if I can do it. Actually, a little nervousness is usually a good thing. It causes us to bring our ‘A’ game into play. When we are concerned we often over plan or over prepare and in so doing we go the extra mile and discover that there is very little traffic there to contend with at that point. Susan Taylor said, “our greatest problems in life come not so much from the situations we confront as from our doubts about our ability to handle them.”
By taking a moment to reflect upon the life challenges you have lived through up to this point in your life it will give you the courage and belief to know that you will be able to handle whatever surfaces next because you have demonstrated strength and tenacity in the past. You don’t always have to like a challenging event that surfaces but you needn’t be cowered by it either. By taking stock of what you have lived through you now know deep down that you can overcome anything once you set your mind to it. That’s a powerful feeling that you have justly earned.
Above all, look at the people who love you, respect you and need you from time to time. They are messengers from the Universe sent to tell you that you are important to them and perfect just the way you are … A beautiful spirit of the Universe who is on a mission to make the world a little better place.
Have a great few days!
In my last blog I talked about a speaker, Robert Schwartz, and his topic of life virtures, at a recent international conference I attended. I listed the first 14 virtues on Wednesday and will complete the set today with the remaining 13 (and my interpretation of the definitions as needed). After you have all 27 virtues I will explain an exercise he gave us that was quite enlightening in the search for our own, individual life plan or purpose.
16. Reverence for Life (honoring the life energy in all living things)
20. Open-heartedness (drop the armor from around your heart from previous hurts)
25. Self Control
27. Coming Into a Greater Knowing of Your Strength and Power (you may feel powerless or unworthy of what you really desire)
Write all 27 life virtues along the left hand side of a page of paper. Then think about the greatest life challenges you have had and list them in chronological order from birth/childhood forward (illness, loss of siblings, moving from place to place, separations, divorces, deaths, basically anything that has been quite difficult to overcome). Make a list of these (maybe 10-15) on a separate sheet of paper. Now, for each difficult challenge in your life using a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest) think about EACH virtue of the 27. For instance, if one of your life challenges has been loss, rate on a scale of 1-10 the difficulty encountered in loss in reference to faith, trust, acceptance, compassion, etc. for all 27 virtues. This will take at least 30 minutes to complete as you really consider the challenges, rankings and divine virtues. You might want to work on it a little and set it aside to let the ideas sort of incubate in your mind. Ultimately, you will come up with 2-5 divine virtues that surface in your life that you have built big life challenges around to help you learn them. This can be a very humbling and enlightening experience if you take the time needed to go deep into your mind and pull out the ones that still seem to be a challenge, an irritant in your life.
One the next blog I will talk about the importance of recognizing your life challenges and accompanying divine virtues for you life. Have a great few days!