Step Away From The Smartphone

Are you addicted to your smartphone?

It’s a bizarre question but one that describes a scenario that is becoming more and more common, but as yet, remains relatively undiagnosed. Since the 1st iPhone debuted in June 2007, just over 10 years ago, our ability to access the internet has accelerated and the proliferation of apps and tools that run on these devices has exploded. Fast forward to 2018 and we now live in a very “connected” era. We have access to dozens of social media tools and platforms, we stream tv, movies, and music like never before, we pay for very little and can access the web at a fraction of the previous costs. With faster internet speed has come a faster pace of life and with that comes increased stress, distraction and the elimination of our ability to wait and be patient. We want it all and we want it now!

Or do we?

Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 22.15.22

On a personal level, I have witnessed my own interest in social media, Facebook, Snapchat, Linkedin and even WhatsApp more recently, really taking a nosedive as I became more aware of not only my own habitual use of these apps but of the value they bring into my life. At this point, I have concluded that most of the activities I habitually do on my smartphone – scrolling, swiping, liking, searching – are not only a huge drain on my time and attention but they are utterly pointless and bring me little or no value whatsoever.

I have written about the arms race for your attention before (Today’s New Currency: Your Attention) and as a software product manager myself, I am all too aware of the pressures that exist in software companies today to remain relevant in a constantly evolving and highly competitive product landscape.

So with this new awareness, I began to research if there were other people feeling the same way – disenfranchised, disengaged and disillusioned with what the smartphone has become. This search has led me to a very interesting new product called light. It is a very basic phone that is designed very deliberately to be used less. It allows you to move away from your smartphone but still have some basic useful tools – like the ability to call friends, text people, get some basic directions, play music, set an alarm – tools, not feeds of useless information from people that you barely know anymore. Judging by the success of their current crowdfunding campaign, the wave of people that are turning their back on their smartphone and adopting a more deliberate device that actually helps them is growing.

light

I believe my own smartphone usage has come to a head. I am at the point now where I can live without it. I want to live more deliberately and consciously and these devices simply do not allow me to do that. They have ceased to be of real value to me.

Now the challenge remains what to replace it with and from looking at light, this might just be the perfect fit.

Yours in health and happiness,

JP

 

Juicing for Better Health

A few years back, I was binge watching my way through Netflix, killing time as I used to do when I came across a documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It struck a chord with me as it was practically how I felt at that time.

It was the story of an Aussie called Joe Cross, who was overweight and suffering from various health-related conditions of his own. Joe had had enough of being fat and sick so decided to do something about it, something big. He undertook a 60 day trip across the US eating and drinking nothing but green vegetable juice and made this movie to chronicle that trip. I still use his recipe for “Mean Green” today and it is a tweaked version of this that I am making today in the video below.

Joe’s health improved dramatically, he lost an unreal amount of weight and he ended up starting a new business based on juicing for health. I follow him on Instagram and he is a cool guy, very ordinary, far from perfection and I guess that’s why people can relate to him. This is what kick-started me into the world of juicing. Soon after, I went out to Power City and bought a basic juicer for less than €100, went to Lidl and got a heap of celery, cucumber, kale, apples and lemons and started juicing. The first thing I would say about juicing is you need a good recipe – start with Mean Green – as experimenting with juicing and different fruit and vegetables can come later. Start well and experiment later.

There is a ton of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants in freshly juiced fruits and veggies so the sooner you drink it after you make it the better. As there is no fibre, the vitamins and minerals are easily absorbed into the bloodstream in about 15 minutes. There is no way that I would be able to eat this amount of produce in the morning but when juiced I can take advantage of all the goodness inside these fruits and veggies in a very quick and effective way.

I try to make a big batch of juice on the weekends that might see me through to Tuesday or Wednesday. That way there is one clean up with lots of output. Here’s one I made recently with my little 2-year son, growling in the background…

 

juice balls

Yours in health and happiness,

JP

 

The Triple 7 Challenge

A few years back I learnt a very valuable tool which I have seen imitated in various different ways since. The original idea that I came across was from one of my favourite people in the medical and wellness world – Dr Dean Ornish. Asides from being the spit of Gene Wilder, Ornish has been a powerhouse in the functional medicine world in the U.S, a huge advocate of a wholefood plant-based diet and a holistic approach to healthcare. He developed the first medical program in the world to be fully endorsed and covered by Medicare (the VHI equivalent in the US) and his program has helped thousands of people heal, prevent and even reverse their heart disease and diabetes.

The program stands on 4 pillars – Diet, Exercise, Stress Management and Love and Support.

Interesting right? I think it’s so cool and useful to be able to boil your health and welfare down to a few basic buckets like this.

ornish undoit

I frequently use this tool to help me see where I am off balance in my life. So, for example, today, I scored myself as Diet – 7/10, Exercise – 6/10, Stress Management – 4/10, Love & Support – 9/10. So lots of love going on which is great but the exercise and stress areas need attention.

So now that I know what I need to focus on, I can take action in that direction to address the imbalance and get my scores up.

So starting today, in an effort to improve my stress management score, I am taking on the 7/7/7 challenge. For me, this means meditation for 7 minutes at 7am for 7 days straight. I have always struggled with being consistent with meditation so setting a short-term goal like this helps keep me focused. Meditating in the morning is the best option and can help you set up the day for success. I’m adding one safety net to this challenge – if I miss the 7am commitment, I have one more chance to get it done at 7pm. The key thing is being consistent and showing up each day to do it.

Do you think you could do your own 7/7/7 challenge? Comment below if you are interested.

Yours in health and happiness (and zen),

JP

Credits: https://www.ornish.com/

 

 

 

Gratitude – Does It Make You Less Stressed?

Today, I have a lot to be grateful for. Today is my daughters 5th birthday.
5 years old. Wow. Where has the time gone?

I would bet that most (read all) parents have pondered this almighty question at one point or another and the reality is, in amongst the brain fog, sleepless nights, bottle feeds, potty training, tantrums, hugs, kisses and tears, the clock just keeps on ticking. Relentlessly.

As a wise elder lemon used to say to me about becoming a parent – the days are long but the years are short. Very true words.

I took some time today to reflect on the last 5 years and to mark this major milestone in our parenting lives. As part of the reflection, I became incredibly grateful (to God, to my higher self, to the powers above) for all the good fortune I have experienced in the last few years. I have chosen to look at the tough times in the last few years as opportunities to grow, to learn and to experience – so they don’t actually seem that bad to me anymore.

The feeling of being grateful is a wonderful one. It fills me up in a way like no other. It is respectful and humble, appreciative and warming. It makes me feel good to focus my attention on the most obvious things – my daughter is healthy, she feels loved and secure, is happy at school, has some friends and great parents (slightly biased). She has food on the table, clothes on her back and a roof over her head. Everything else can drop away and she would still be happy.

If we focus on them, we all have people and things in our lives that we could be more mindful of and grateful for.

Here’s to paying more daily attention to the small, obvious and often overlooked things in life and living more deliberately.

Yours in health and happiness,

JP

Adventure

On my quest to better my health over the last few years, I have learned a lot about life, happiness, balance, focus, energy, food, relationships, finances, career, growth, and contribution. One thing that I keep coming back to and that seems to be a bottomless pit of contentment for me is the importance of having more fun in my life.

As a kid, I played football and other games (kick the can anyone?) with my friends from the road, getting up to mischief, climbing trees, building hideouts, laughing, exploring on our bikes and getting into trouble sometimes too no doubt but at the core of it was a desire to have fun and experience adventure.

As an adult, society, jobs, mortgages, responsibilities, marriage, parenting and unfulfilling careers do their level best to beat that sense of adventure and desire to have fun out of you. It certainly did to me, until now.

I think having a light touch attitude to life, having frivolous fun, making people smile and seeking adventure in the ordinary day are some of most powerful lessons I have learned to better improve my health and wellbeing. They are great stress relievers too which I had to learn the hard way as I suffered from chronic stress for years.

These are things that cost nothing. They are an attitude to life that is helping me enjoy life more. Don’t get me wrong, I am still learning and am far from perfect myself but all improvements seem to start with better awareness of your current state.

Recently I bought a little Italian scooter to make it easier to get in and out of work. This is something I wanted to do for years but had always deferred it due to safety concerns. I was inspired to move forward with it recently and just went out and bought it. It’s been a superb week commuting in and out to work on this little machine. My ordinary commute, which took about an hour, has been transformed into 30 minutes of fun and adventure each day.

Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 08.51.21

I am really enjoying learning to look at life a little differently, to spend time working out what is important to me and then taking positive, deliberate action in that direction.

We all have 24 hours in the day, make sure you choose to have some fun and experience some adventure in that time each day.

Yours in health and happiness,

JP

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑