Word Of the Week #550: Unplug

February 18, 2015 by  

Unplugto disconnect; take time out.

How would you rate your level of stress? How attached are you to your electronic gadgets? When was the last time you were “unplugged” from everything?

This week’s WOW was inspired by Mary MacVean’s LA Times Sunday article, There’s no place like om. To the overstressed and overstimulated, mindful meditation is a welcome space to unplug and time out.”

She writes, “Meditation, primarily a 2,500-year-old form called mindfulness meditation that emphasizes paying attention to the present moment, has gone viral.

The unrelenting siege on our attention can take a good share of the credit; stress has bombarded people from executives on 24/7 schedules to kids who feel the pressure to succeed even before puberty. Meditation has been lauded as a way to reduce stress, ease physical ailments like headaches and increase compassion and productivity.

a unplugThe great thing about mindful meditation is that it fits a lot about the American spirit. You don’t have to join anything. It’s very private. It’s a very direct answer to an awful lot of stress and confusion. You needn’t even put down your phone, with apps like Insight Timer, which has guided meditations and ways to track your stillness.

Janice Marturano, once a top executive at General Mills, and the founder of the Institute for Mindful Leadership says, “As a mother, spouse, daughter of aging parents, president of an arts board, and a top executive – every day I juggled faster and faster, and on most days, most of the time, most of the balls stayed in the air.” You know where this is going: What goes up must come down.

“In the business world, we were just so bombarded with work all the time. The mobile devices – you’re expected to be on call at the movie theater, at your children’s recital, even in bed. I was just looking for a way to find peace,” says Jason Garner, once the CEO of Live Nation, and the author of “…And I Breathed.

And I love his tag line on the home page. It reads, “I choose to live my life as if it is a playground not a battlefield.” For those of you who have heard me speak I talk about “Time Out” for adults. You put a child in time out to calm them down as well as to discourage inappropriate behavior. What behavior is causing you stress?

This week focus is on how it would feel to unplug. How many balls are you trying to juggle? How much quiet time do you devote to yourself each day? How often do you put your phone/computer/gadgets out of reach?

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