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Break your digital addiction with something familiar: baby steps

Even this mindfulness expert needed a bit of help! ?

Break your digital addiction with something familiar: baby steps

Has this ever happened to you: Someone you love is talking to you, but you didn’t hear a word they said because you were busy on the phone?


I feel so bad when this happens.

The most recent time was I was busy checking my emails when my husband gave me a kiss on the cheek, said “I love you” and walked out the bathroom door to start his day. It wasn’t until he left the room my mind registered what he just said and I quickly blurted out an “I love you.”

Talk about a major unmindful moment on my part.

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I was so guilty of my lack of attention, I started to think how many other moments of genuine connection have I missed hypnotized behind my digital device?

I know I’m not alone on this. Let’s face it, most of us are addicted to our phones. I know I was! ?

Anytime we hear an incoming buzz we get a shot of dopamine—a neurotransmitter associated with the pleasure of novelty. It’s the same neurochemical hit when we fall in love or are on hard drugs.

The biggest drawback of this addiction is all of those wasted valuable moments, which result in lost chances for deep communication and precious memories with our loved ones. So, in today’s article, I’m going to help you fully enter your life and break your digital addiction by sharing the small baby steps I used to break my addiction.

Create space between you + social media apps

Think about it: It’s incredible how mindlessly we can pick up our phone and immediately click on Facebook or Instagram without even knowing it.

When I noticed I automatically clicked on Facebook when I picked up my phone even when I didn’t want to go on it, I came up with an idea: I grouped together all my social media apps and put them on the second page of my iPhone. That way I didn’t have big icons staring at me right when I opened my phone enticing me to go on. I did this nearly a year ago—and it’s certainly helped me create a healthy space between me and social media.

That small pocket of space I need to scroll to the second page broke my knee-jerk reaction to click on Facebook. I ask myself do I really need to go on for a specific purpose or am I just bored?

Now, unless I have a business purpose or I want to connect with my Mod-Zen Mama or Mindful Mama Experience tribe, I rarely waste time getting sucked into mindlessly scrolling on Facebook.

Take a family break

Social media wasn’t my only mindless time-zapper: checking emails, texting or scrolling through pictures was also a big filled of my time.

Sometimes it’s a necessity for work, but many times it’s something that can wait. We have very limited time during the day to spend with our kids, let’s maximize it by taking a family break.

For me, I declared 5-8 p.m. no-phone zone. I would put my phone on vibrate, place it in a drawer where it is out of sight. This was designated for quality family time.

This one tip has boosted my confidence and happiness tenfold. Knowing I’m making giving my undivided to the people who matter, helps me create daily memories with them. I feel proud that I’m setting a good example for Ayaan and letting him know that being present with him is something I prioritize.

Ask yourself what time period of the day can you set aside as no-phone zone—even if it’s 30 minutes or on hour. Whatever you set aside, make sure you maximize that time with your family. Start making simple daily memories.

Stop sleeping together

I know you may use your phone as your alarm clock, but—let’s face it—that’s what old-fashioned alarms were created for. I suggest keeping your phone in a different room to charge at night and use a separate alarm clock in the morning.

Or, if you simply can’t part with your phone, keep it across the room. That way you aren’t tempted to surf the first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

Take morning and evening mental breaks

How we start our morning and end our day sets the foundation of how our day goes and how we sleep. If we are overstimulating and bombarding our mind by surfing from the moment we get up and go to bed, we can’t relax, find stillness and tune our inner peace.

Make an intention not to surf the web, check emails or texts for at least 15 minutes after you wake up and put your phone away 15 minutes before you go to bed.

This gives your mind a mental break to tune into your body, mind and soul as you begin and start your day. You can even start small with just five minutes a day and work up to a time period that feels comfortable for you.

There are definite benefits from taking some time away from your devices and breaking your digital addiction: You’ll have more time connecting with your family and the people you love. You won’t feel stressed that you don’t have enough time to complete all your daily tasks. And you’ll allow more time to be present and focused on what’s happening in your life right here and right now.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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