Is Technology Improving our Lives or Hindering Relationships?

The website www.mindbodygreen.com published an article in December 2015 by Vishnu Subramaniam, referencing technology and how it really is hindering our experiences and relationships.

technology

11 Things You Think Are Improving Your Life (But Are Actually Messing is Up)

source http://www.mindbodygreen.com  by Vishnu Subramaniam

Each year, as we continue to live larger lives with more distractions, more work, more technology, more stuff — it gets easier and easier to forget about what really matters — peace of mind, serenity, and inner joy. Instead, we keep striving to work just a bit more, to squeeze in one more happy hour, to buy one more fancy toy. More is more, right?

I propose a radical alternative to this way of thinking. I think all this stuff is standing in the way of true fulfillment. It’s a distraction. What we really need to be happier is less.

Do less. Be more.

To help you start ridding your life of superfluous accessories, commitments, and pursuits that might be keeping you from uncovering your true bliss, I’ve listed 12 things to stop accumulating this year.

It’s not necessarily about going from a mansion to a bedsit, or from a jam-packed social calendar to the lifestyle of a hermit. It’s about recognizing small opportunities for change and taking them. Little by little, that process will transform your life.

  1. Stuff

The more “stuff” you have, the more space in your mind is occupied by worries and strategies regarding those things and how to protect them. Look around your closets, your desk, your apartment, and your office. Theoretically, you could probably get rid of about 90 percent of the things you own, with the only difference you notice being all the space you suddenly have.

Any time you recognize that something in your space isn’t serving a clear purpose, donate it or toss it. Over time, you’ll streamline your space and your thinking.

  1. Multitasking

The more efficient you try to be, the more you try to multitask — a trader making phone calls while reviewing two screens on his desk is an obvious example — the less engaged you are with what’s actually happening around you. Multitasking is the enemy of focus. Turn off superfluous notifications while you’re trying to get things done. Focus on one item at a time, putting the most important things first.

Prioritize. Stop multitasking. Be present with the task at hand.

  1. Technology

Speaking of distractions, technology is the worst culprit of all — not to mention one of the most frequent stressors we deal with on a daily basis. Most of us don’t spend more than five minutes away from a screen all day.

Try turning off your technology for an hour or two. If your job requires you to be glued to a computer, turn off one piece of tech. If you really can’t do that, take half an hour to walk outside, or eat lunch somewhere with natural light. Your life should be better because of technology, not worse. And limiting superfluous interactions with it will create more space for enjoyment and inspiration in the rest of your life.

  1. Work

This doesn’t mean turning into a slacker. It means being more strategic.

We tend to fit the work given into the time allotted. Make leaving your office by a certain time each day a priority. It will force you to be more strategic in the way you use your time, and provide more time to do the things you want to do outside the office.

  1. Comparisons

It’s natural to feel the urge to compare yourself to your neighbors, your colleagues, the people you went to high school with.

Regardless of how someone else’s life looks, odds are they haven’t figured out any more than you have. You aren’t behind. You’re not doing anything wrong. Focusing on your own goals and honing strategies to achieve them is much more likely to lead to success than spending your time worrying about the progress other people are making.

It’s the best — and maybe the only — way to stay true to yourself and live an authentic life.

  1. Busyness

It’s great to be self-sufficient. But most of us devote so much time to getting ahead that we put our relationships on the back burner. We don’t prioritize family or community, though they are by far the most rewarding parts of life.

Find places you can trim your commitments in other areas and increase the amount of time you spend with family, volunteering, or working with the community. Don’t prioritize based on what seems urgent. Prioritize based on what is important.

  1. Social media

It wastes time and negatively affects self-esteem. Give yourself a daily limit for the number of visits or amount of time spent checking social accounts. Fill that time with phone calls to family or a coffee date with an old friend. (Introverts get much more satisfaction from one-on-one conversations than from superficial chatter or “small talk.”)

  1. Noise

It’s almost never silent in our world. Music in the car, open office spaces, TV for “background noise” at home. It’s even noisy in the doctor’s office and in line at the pharmacy.

Find a few minutes for quiet each day. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but you’ll grow to revel in it. You’ll be surprised how many insights you can have in even just 10 minutes of silent reflection. Notice, too, how much more peaceful you feel after just a few minutes of silence.

  1. News

Your TV, your homepage, your gas station, your iPhone — Even when you’re intentionally limiting superfluous technology use, you can’t escape up-to-the-minute news about what’s happening in the world. And most of these stories are intentionally told from angles designed to prey on your emotions. You express what you ingest. So, practice ignoring click-bait and sob stories you see and read dozens of times a day. Like with any habit, it soon won’t even require will power to just soar past.

Fill your mind with uplifting, energizing content. And if you feel like you’re missing out on a certain level of information that’s necessary to thrive in your world, give yourself a certain amount of time per day, from a news outlet you can trust, to catch up on what’s happened. Don’t let other people’s perceptions of reality overtake your life. It really does make a difference.

  1. Judgements

One of the most destructive things about the tendency to compare is a reliance on judgment of others for your own self-esteem. If our lives look “better” than someone else’s, we can assuage our own insecurities with a temporary feeling of superiority. It’s not real, and it won’t last.

Be inspired by the success of others and extend compassion to those who need it. Replace anger and hostility with empathy, compassion, and understanding.

  1. Commitments

It’s really tempting to say “yes!” to everything. Committing to too many things eventually makes you unfit for everything. Yes, investing more in your family and in yourself is a commitment. But doing that well requires you to relinquish commitments that are less important in the long run.

Why not do a few things really well instead of doing everything halfheartedly?

Ask yourself what really matters to you. What do you care about? Set fewer goals and focus your attention on the handful of things you’re really passionate about. Learn to let the rest go.

Do less. Be more.

 

How to Prevent Heat Exhaustion

Temperatures have skyrocketed into sometimes dangerous ranges this summer. Excessive heat can lead to sunburns, heat cramps and heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion, a condition which results in the body overheating, is one of the most dangerous heat-related syndromes.

At TP Mechanical we understand that sometimes you have no choice but to face the heat, so we want you to know ways to keep yourself safe from heat exhaustion this summer.

The Symptoms

According to the American Red Cross, there are two types of heat exhaustion: water depletion and salt depletion. If you experience any of these symptoms, you could have heat exhaustion:

  • Cool, moist, pale or flushed skin
  • Heavy sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Exhaustion

What to Do

If you or anyone else has symptoms of heat exhaustion, it’s essential to immediately get out of the heat and rest, preferably in an air-conditioned room. You can also follow one of these safety suggestions:

  • Remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin.
  • Fan the person.
  • If conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly.
  • Watch for any changes in condition.
  • If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1.

Remember, the risk of heat-related illness dramatically increases when the heat index climbs to 90 degrees or more. So it’s important – especially during heat waves – to pay attention to the reported heat index. Read more from the American Red Cross about how to keep you and your family safe from the heat.

 

Exercising the Body and Brain

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

Studies have shown a strong relationship between the health of the body and the health of the brain. Exercise revs up complex processes inside the brain that can deter depression, help you stay calm and keep your mind sharp.

Exercise Boosts Mental Fitness

spark of genius brainThe brain has approximately 86 billion neurons designed to give orders to the rest of the body through chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. Studies show that deficiencies of two of these neurotransmitters (glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA), can lead to mood disorders such as depression. However, moderate exercise can increase the amounts of the two neurotransmitters, contributing to increased mental fitness.

Exercise Decreases Stress

When you’re stressed, your brain secretes the “fight or flight” hormone, cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels can create a constant and unnecessary feeling of stress. But, if you exercise, you expose your body to “controlled stress,” which helps regulate your brain’s stress response, keeping you calmer.

Exercise Slows the Brain’s Aging Process

bigstock-Running-sport--trail-runners--47575639Your brain ages just like the rest of your body, but exercise can help the brain handle natural, age-related deterioration without taking a toll on your memory. Older adults who exercise have larger brain volumes than those who don’t. Plus, the brain’s hippocampus (which is responsible for memory and learning) is larger in people who are active. Exercising won’t make you smarter, per se, but it will help you remember things better as you age.

3 Diets to Help You Follow the New Dietary Guidelines

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

The new 2015-2020 federal dietary guidelines focus on the prevention of diet-related chronic diseases instead of just weight management alone. Here are three suggested diets designed around the guidelines to help make them more user-friendly:

  • Healthy American Diet: A healthier version of what people in the United States typically consume, it suggests 2.5 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 6 ounces of grain, 3 cups of dairy and 5.5 ounces of protein daily.
  • Mediterranean Diet: Heavy on protein and fruits while light on dairy, this diet suggests 6.5 ounces of protein, 2.5 cups of fruit and 2 cups of dairy daily. Like the American diet, it also suggests 2.5 cups of vegetables and 6 ounces of grain daily.
  • Vegetarian Diet: This diet only suggests 3.5 ounces of protein daily. To replace meat and seafood, it prescribes 7 ounces of nuts and seeds, as well as 8 ounces of tofu and other soy products. It also recommends 2.5 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit and 6.5 ounces of grain.

*Above examples are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Diet-Guidelines

Lead Water Poisoning

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

Although lead-based paint and dust in older buildings are the most common sources of lead poisoning, drinking water is sometimes a source as well. This is mostly due to old, corroded pipes.

High levels of lead in the bloodstream can cause serious health effects, especially in children under the age of 6. Symptoms of lead poisoning in children include developmental delay, learning difficulties, irritability, weight loss, fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation and hearing loss.

Since you can’t see, smell or taste lead in water, the only way to detect it is to have the water tested. If your home is served by public water systems, your local water authority should be able to provide this information. You can also use an at-home lead-testing kit.

If your tap water’s lead levels exceed 15 ppb, you can possibly reduce the threat of lead poisoning by doing the following:

  • Run cold water for at least a minute before using or drinking it.
  • Do not use hot tap water for drinking and cooking, since hot water draws lead from the corroded pipes. Instead, use cold tap water and heat it on the stove.
  • Invest in a home water filtration system that reduces the amount of lead in your water.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. Readers should contact a health professional for appropriate advice. © 2016 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Zika: What You Should Know

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

A relatively new virus is prompting worldwide concern because of how quickly it is spreading across the globe. Also alarming is its connection to microcephaly, a neurological birth disorder. Transmitted by the aggressive Aedes aegypti mosquito, the Zika virus is rare because it can infect the fetuses of pregnant women who have the virus.

Symptoms of Zika are generally mild and include headaches, fever, rash and sometimes conjunctivitis (pink eye). Most people don’t even realize that they have been infected by the virus, which is why it is such a concern for pregnant women.

The Zika virus has spread to more than 20 countries since May of 2015. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning pregnant women against travel to any affected areas. Furthermore, health officials in several of those countries are telling female citizens to avoid becoming pregnant, in some cases, for up to two years. Several states have confirmed the virus in individuals who traveled to areas where the virus is circulating.

Researchers are working to create a Zika vaccine. Until then, the best method of prevention is to avoid travel to areas with active infestations. If you do travel to one of these areas, be sure to wear mosquito repellent and thick clothing that covers as much of your body as possible. Unlike most mosquitos, the type that carries Zika is most active during the daytime hours until dusk, and it also prefers to be indoors. This makes it very important to use screen doors and windows and to stay in air-conditioned hotels when possible.

zika-virus-symptoms

Swimming for Exercise

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

Swimming is often a summertime favorite for children, but it’s also a great form of exercise for individuals of all ages. What sets swimming apart from other workouts?

  • It’s low impact, which is ideal for anyone with overworked or injured joints.
  • It’s a form of resistance training that strengthens muscles all over your body, especially your core.
  • It’s an aerobic exercise, strengthening your heart and improving lung efficiency.

If you’re a novice swimmer, start slowly to build up how long and far you’re able to swim.