Wellness Wednesday: Healing the Mind in a Distracted World

Welcome to the February installment of Wellness Wednesday here at Tuning Hearts! This month I wanted to dig a little deeper and write about some of the things I have been learning as regards healing the mind in a distracted world. Those who have been following me for a while now know that in October I started taking an extended break from social media. Since then, I have also been reading a few books on the topic of internet and media usage, distraction versus deep work, and the control we have in maintaining our mental and physical health.

Three of the most influential books for me on this topic have been Switch on Your Brain:The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking and Health by Dr. Caroline Leaf, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr, and Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport.

In Switch on Your Brain, Dr. Leaf gives a compelling argument from neuroscience research that we actually change our brains physically as we think. When we think positive, true and worthy thoughts, our brains grow new healthy tissue and send signals to our bodies that actually help us stay physically healthy as well. Conversely, when we dwell on negative or toxic thoughts, our brains make unhealthy connections and weaken, even changing our DNA to release disease and dysfunction in our bodies. It’s truly fascinating stuff! I found her ideas on taking control of our thought lives and choosing what we tell ourselves and what we allow to get “stuck” in our brains (and therefore, in our bodies) truly encouraging and challenging. I have not yet tried the “21-Day Brain Detox” method that she recommends in the later portion of the book, but I am definitely going to in the near future.

Going along with that idea of choosing what we let into our minds, when I read Carr’s book The Shallows, I was struck by how easily we let media of all sorts determine what we think about. It was rather sobering. As much as I appreciate the ease of the internet, I do see how much it can be a detriment to my own mental health, and I know I’m not the only one. The fast pace of the internet alone is a real threat to our ability to stay focussed on one thing at a time for a long period of time. During these months that I have been off social media, I have seen my attention for reading books grow a good deal. Yet, I still feel that pull to check email, news headlines or a homeschool parents’ forum to which I belong. Even just picking up my phone at random spare seconds throughout the day shows me how distracted I have become since I started using a smartphone. It is something I know I will always be working on now that these devices have become a seemingly inseparable part of our daily lives.

Cal Newport argues for kicking some of this constant connectivity to the curb in Deep Work, particularly as it relates to creatives and professionals. This book was a little harder to apply to my current life as a stay at home mother and homeschool teacher, at least as far as the practical rules of tuning out distraction in order to work in a professional setting. But the principles of clearing the clutter of connectivity from email, social media and the like still do apply. I can choose to focus on my children and my work here at home and my inner thought life instead of allowing the virtual world to encroach on my mental space and energy so much of the time. And I have found that when I keep the media distractions to a minimum, I do make more time for my creative pastimes and have a greater capacity for stillness and quiet.

To sum it all up, if we want to have better mental health (which is interconnected with emotional and physical wellness), we need to reduce the time we spend scrolling and increase our awareness and intention toward our thought life. I know that just being more alert to where I am placing my attention and how much time I am spending in distracted activities has been helpful to my state of mind.

How about you? Do you see a connection in your life between mental health and distraction and/or internet usage? I would love to continue the conversation in the comments!


Want to link up? I would love to read your thoughts on your own health and wellness journey! Follow the instructions below to join the link-up and share!

How to participate:

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!

Inlinkz Link Party

Goals, Habits and Intentions for 2019: Wellness Wednesday


Welcome back to Wellness Wednesdays here at Tuning Hearts! I have been slow to return to the blog since the holidays, but I hope to be more consistent in posting as the new year gets under way. I have decided to dial back my Wellness Wednesday link-up posts to one per month. Let’s plan to meet here every second Wednesday of the month and link up your wholistic health and wellness posts! This will not only give me to more time to think and write on relevant topics, but it will also give me more time I read and comment on your posts, something I have not been doing in as timely a manner as I should.

With all that business out of the way, let’s get on to this month’s wellness topic. Since it is the beginning of a new year, I am sure we all have goals or intentions for getting healthier and improving our lives in some way. Without going into all the whys and wherefores, I thought this would be an appropriate time to share some of the habits and choices I want to work on this year. I have added each of these to a habit tracker in my new bullet journal for 2019, so I can keep myself accountable for making progress in each area.

  • Scripture Reading Plan: In October I began a new 52-week Bible Reading Plan. The difference in this year’s plan is that it goes neither chronlogically or in book order as do most. Instead, each day I read a few chapters from a different genre of the Bible: Law, History, Poetry, Psalms, Prophecy, Gospels and Epistles. I have loved reading the Bible this way, and I am making new connections between books that I have not made before.
  • Breathing Prayer: I have written about this practice before, but I got out of the routine. I want to get back to the daily habit of taking 3-5 minutes for focussed breathing and prayer.
  • 10 Minute Workout: I joined “The Little Way” challenge hosted by Revelation Wellness this month, and it could not have come at a better time. I have fallen off the purposeful movement bandwagon, and this is the perfect way to get back to healthy movement while also feeding my soul. The workout options for this challenge are to do either 10 or 30 minutes a day. To begin easing back in, I am doing just 10 minutes a day. I already feel better getting moving first thing in the morning!
  • Read Non-Fiction: I struggle with finishing non-fiction books, at least those that are not in narrative format. My goal is to read at least a chapter a day from one of the non-fiction books that I have started and stopped until I finish them, then continue this habit with each new non-fiction title I begin after that.
  • Outside for 20+ Minutes: In the winter, especially, I struggle with getting outside enough and getting my daily dose vitamin D. Once spring comes, this won’t be such a necessary habit to track, but for now, I have to make it an intentional goal.
  • No Sugar: Another challenge I joined this month is 40 Day Sugar Fast hosted by Wendy Speake. I participated in it last year, and the faith-filled focus of the fast was a great boost to my spiritual growth at the beginning of the year. I am looking forward to this fast coupled with The Little Way challenge. I believe that getting my eyes on Jesus more and more and off the sugary snacks I use to reward myself or cope with emotional struggles is going to go a long way toward greater wholeness and health!
  • Food Log: This is partly added accountability for the sugar fast, but also just a simple, non-obsessive way for me to be mindful of what I am putting into my body each day.
  • Write Something: After the 2018 Write 31 Days blogging challenge, I learned that if I set my mind to it, I could write something every day. But I was tired and wanted a break from blogging like a crazy person. By the time the holidays rolled around I was so out of the habit of writing again that I did not even know where to begin. I dabbled in journalling a bit this fall, and I found that to be a beneficial practice for my thought life. So this year, I decided to combine my desire to blog more and my need to journal more into one basic goal of writing something, somewhere, every day. Some days I will only have time for a brief journal entry. Other days I will put some extra effort and time into creating a blog post. But I want to be doing something with words on a daily basis, because I know I can and should!

That sounds like a lot of goals, now that I have written them out in long hand, especially considering I also am homeschooling my kids and keeping house and cooking meals and trying to be a decent wife, friend and church member! But all these goals are also pretty small time commitments in and of themselves. And they are all things I have done before and can do again if I just make the right choices throughout my days.

Now it’s your turn! What are a few of your goals for wellness in 2019? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Wellness Wednesday: Resting and Reflecting


Thanks so much for stopping by for another Wellness Wednesday! This week’s post is going to be short, sweet, and to the point. In the spirit of keeping the holiday season simple and family-centered, I’m going to be taking a break from doing this link-up until the new year. After Jan. 1, I am seriously considering changing Wellness Wednesdays to a once a month rotation instead of once a week. Even though hosting weekly does get me writing here at least that often, there are a lot of other topics I would like to explore outside of the holistic health arena. I don’t always have the bandwidth to write more than once a week, I want to use that time to the fullest and write on the things that are most on my mind and heart.

All that to say, Wellness Wednesday will continue in 2019, but possibly not as frequently. Please do go ahead and add your post to the link-up this time around! I will be leaving it open through Christmas and New Years for those that find this post a bit later in December.

Until next time, have a happy, healthy holiday!
Kiel
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Wellness Wednesday: Diffuser Recipes for a Happy, Healthy Holiday

 

As we enter the Christmas season, here in the northern hemisphere, we also enter winter and cold and flu season! So this week I thought I would share a few holiday diffuser recipes using essential oils to boost your immune health while also adding a bit of Christmas cheer to your home. Unlike scented candles or wax melts, essential oils do not add toxins to the air but, rather, support our overall health and wellness when we inhale them. Because of the amazing way that scent affects the brain, we also reap positive emotional benefits from diffusing essential oils. Enjoy these lovely essential oil diffuser combos during this season for a happy, healthy holiday!

Want to link up? I would love to read your thoughts on your own health and wellness journey! Follow the instructions below to join the link-up and share!

How to participate:

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!

P.S.--If you want to know more about the type of essential oils our family prefers, you can check out my Hearts, Minds and Oils page!

Wellness Wednesday: Reporting on the Luddite Experiment

At the beginning of October, I began what I intended to be only a month-long break from social media. You can read about that in my original post on “Joining the Luddite Experiment.” Now that it is nearly the end of November, I thought I should report on how that experiment has been going, because, as you may have guessed, I have not really gone back to Facebook or Instagram yet.

I have checked a couple of things on Facebook in the last week, namely the Close Reads Podcast group to find out when we start reading The Great Gatsby (this week!) and a local homeschool group to see if there are any exciting field trips scheduled in December that we don’t want to miss (nope). But otherwise, I have been perfectly happy to be off social media and plan to continue to stay away for the remainder of the year.

So what have I been doing with all that time I had been spending scrolling through feeds? Well, I find myself spending more time doing things offline that are important to me, like reading and knitting and journalling. I am less distracted or worried about what so-and-so out there in the world might be doing and more content to just live my little life right here with my family. I have enjoyed having local friends over for a homeschool mom’s book club, and I have reconnected with other AmblesideOnline parents on the AO Forum. I also have been enjoying more time spent in devotional reading and prayer in the mornings.

So, overall, I have to say that this time away from the hubbub of the virtual social scene has been exactly what I hoped it would be, and I don’t have any plans to go back any time soon. Especially now that the holiday season is upon us, I am looking forward to more cozy, contented days cultivating relationships with my family and local friends and doing what I love without worrying so much about what “everyone else” might be doing. My emotional and mental health have truly improved over the last two months, and that alone is reason enough for me to continue in this Luddite Experiment.


Want to link up? I would love to read your thoughts on your own health and wellness journey! Follow the instructions below to join the link-up and share!

How to participate: 

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!