Category Archives: Technology

What dogs can teach you about stress and life.

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This morning I had an interview, which as we all know can be a pretty stressful situation.  I went into the interview remembering that the very worst thing that can happen is that I don’t get hired and that I did not lose anything by trying.  The interview seemed to go very well and I was informed that a decision would be made within the next couple of days.  I then got home and started revisiting the interview and remembering things I should have said and questions I should have asked, but I didn’t.  So why am I worrying about it now after the fact?

This then got me to thinking about how people deal with stress in their lives.  Some people turn to addictions such as drugs, alcohol, and shopping to help them deal with stress…which all of these in the long run really are not dealing with the issue that caused the stress at all.  Others take a healthier approach and exercise, meditate, and vent to friends to help deal with their stress.  I personally have always been a huge fan of animal therapy.  Studies have shown that when a person is petting an animal they are in that moment…that moment of just them and the animal and petting…they are not thinking about the bounced check at the bank, the dry cleaning that needs to be picked up, the horrible demanding boss, all they are thinking about that furry critter that wants its tummy rubbed.  You are mindful in the moment and just taking it in.  I then decided to spend some time with my dogs and it helped.  My wheels were turning after this and I thought “maybe I have some pictures of the boys that will help add some humor  and insight to stressful situations” and here we are:

No matter how tiny you feel compared to the stress in your life, if you keep your head up, eyes open and a positive outlook things will always get better.

Always remember to make time for fun. Watch your favorite show, go bowling, hang-out with friends, whatever it is that floats your fun boat...DO IT! Making sure you laugh often while doing it will not only help your mood but the moods of those around you. Remember the word SMILES and the word STRESS both have the same amount of letter in them and the more you smile the less stress you will feel.

Take a break from technology. As a society that is ALWAYS connected with internet, cell phones, computers, text messages, television and so on, it can be hard to take a break and get away from the stress in life. Make time for yourself and literally ONLY YOURSELF. Turn off the tv, radio, cell phone, computer, and all of those other distractions and just take 5 minutes (or more if possible) for yourself....breath, stretch, doodle, paint, bake, do whatever you need to do to relax and enjoy your technology free time.

Be silly! Laughter is always the best medicine, especially when it comes to elevating your mood and taking your mind off of stress. Do something silly and make yourself laugh. Dance around your house like Mr. Bean, make up a silly song and sing it on the spot, play dress-up...whatever you choose to do remember you are just being silly and trying to make yourself laugh (you can choose to do this step alone, or with an audience--sometimes having an audience for your silliness will make the laughter more contagious).

Some problems are big. Some problems are little. Most things that you look at as a problem or a stress now will not be important 5 years in the future. Don't worry about the things you can't change.

All those little things in life that just tick you off are just that....LITTLE THINGS. Don't let yourself get all snarly because of little things that you usually have no control over...it isn't a good look. Also, don't let other peoples stress/moods/negative interactions dictate your mood and day. Somebody cut you off on the way to work? Fine. They must have been in a bigger hurry than you and they are just wasting gas and losing money by driving erratically.

Never underestimate the power of sleep. Sleeping plays a huge factor in the way that we deal with everyday stress in our lives. If you are stressed out and sleeping poorly because of it, you will then be tired the next day which will cause more stress...it is a vicious circle. Try to remember that those things you are thinking about instead of sleeping will still be there the next day and staying awake all night thinking about them will not make them go away. Seriously, how much of the stress in your life can you solve by staying awake all night worrying about....NONE!

Play hard. Many of us only have two days a week off and those two days are usually packed full of things that we have written on a To-Do List. Make sure to put something you enjoy doing on that weekend To-Do List. Schedule time for play, life doesn't always have to be work and To-Do Lists...if you don't finish everything on your To-Do List this weekend there is always other weekends.

Look stress straight in the eye and say "I can deal with you." Avoiding some stress for a while is good, but you can not avoid all stress forever, so step up to your stress and let it know that you are stronger than it will ever be.

No matter how big of road blocks life sends your way, you are always strong enough to work your way through it. It may be a road block that takes a day to overcome or a year (or more) but you will always make it through.

Don't take life too seriously. If you are serious, worried and stressed all of the time just imagine how much of life you are missing out on. Big issues now will seem like tiny specks of issues in the future. Plus many of the big things you are stressed about now you will look back on and just shake your head and laugh wondering why you let it get to you so much.

Try not to wake-up on the wrong side of the bed. Each day that you wake-up, take a big breath in and are able to greet the day is a blessing. If you can start your day with a smile and share it with others it will help brighten the world around you.

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Lost Children: Generation of Technology

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Recently I have seen many posts online referring to how different the “older” generation’s childhood was from our current generations.  These post range from not having air conditioning, cable, cell phones to actually going outside and playing to burn of excess energy.  From reading the variety of posts it made the wheels in my mind start turning and made me wonder just really how different are the children of today.

I was born in the late 70’s and can say that I was alive and participating in the world for a total of 1 week in 1979.  I was a child of the 80’s and a teen of the 90’s.  During the 80’s we were one of the first families on our block to get a VCR and my family had a membership to the local video store. I was limited to 3 movies per week and that was the extent of my television, the rest of my time was spent playing outside, drawing, pretending, doing homework, reading and being a kid.  Some of the basic toys that I loved was coloring books, slinky, stuffed animals, etch-a-sketch (I would get so frustrated when my family would walk by and purposely bump it just to mess with me), and of course the mighty bicycle.   I remember my parents (in 1985) bringing me home a Teddy Ruxpin as a surprise and I was terrified of him (terrified!!!)…seriously, those of you who remember Teddy Ruxpin tell me he wasn’t creepy.  Moving into the 90’s of course everything changed.  Nintendo, Sega and other gaming systems became all the rage, and I do have to admit that for a while I was very good at Super Mario, my specialty—flying.  My father also made sure that I kept active and limited video game and television time.  Some of his favorite tasks to keep me busy with was having me haul in wood, do dishes, clean the house, mow the lawn and other things that the typical teen doesn’t find very cool.  I am grateful to my father for having made me do those things, because not only did they get me off my butt and outside most of the time, but they also taught me a great amount about responsibility and what it means to be a successful adult…the fresh air was also good for me.

When my father was a child toys were made to last forever.  They were sturdy.  They were metal.  They had sharp edges.  They were meant to be played with.  They were toys that had substance and longevity, unlike the toys of today’s era.  Many of the toys that my father played with were made in America, the good old U.S. of A.  I truly believe that the toys that last are the toys of the past.  Majority of the toys that are currently on the market for this generations children are made in China or whichever country the manufacturer can find to produce it the fastest and cheapest, in doing this I believe quality is completely lost.  The toys of today are made out of plastic and have nice rounded corners and edges so that there is virtually no chance of a child hurting themselves.  At this point pretty much the only thing on the toys that will hurt the children is some of the paint that is chalked full of lead.  Of course you want to keep your children safe, but then isn’t part of growing up having battle wound stories to tell.

Enough about today’s toys…let us move onto electronics and the mass addiction that today’s society has on them.  Majority of the adults that I know have a computer, cell phone, MP3 player, high-def tv, dvd/bluray, etc…but the question loudly ringing through my mind is WHY ON EARTH DO CHILDREN NEED ALL OF THESE ITEMS TOO???  I worked as a nanny with a child who was right in the 2-year-old range and his parents would let him play with their I-Phones and if they did not he would throw a fit.  The parents also would play Wii with him…seriously, the kid is 2!  In his bedroom he had a MP3 player and docking station and would refuse to even think about going to bed or taking a nap unless music was playing.   At 2 years of age he already knew that he would rather play with his parent’s phones than go outside and I find that sad.

 

How young is too young for children to be obsessed with technology?

How much technology is too much?

Should children be regulated on their technology consumption?

Are parents to blame for using technology as babysitters rather than taking the time and actually interacting with their children?

How many parents are encouraging physical activity—outside?

How unhealthy does our current generation on children need to get before our red flags go up and something changes?

How many parents are hands on in teaching their children about the world around them?  Nature?  Cooking?  Mechanics?  The basic life skills that will be much-needed as an adult.

Being that Christmas is just a little over a day away I wonder how many parents/family members/etc. will get the children in their lives something educational or something that promotes physical activity that is not completely dependent on technology?  I keep seeing Santa on the news and  hearing children asking for I-Pads, video game systems and other items along the same line, which makes my heart sad because when I was young you would have never asked for items so expensive.  No wonder families are struggling to get by.  Going off of the Christmas and Santa thing it makes me wonder how parents explain where toys were made to their children.  According to the Santa myth his elves all hand make the toys at the North Pole, yet if you have a child who is of reading age and they read the bottom of a toy and it says “Made in China” I wonder how exactly does a parent explain that one away?

Children used to enjoy going outside to play, playing until they were exhausted and using their imaginations.  I feel like a lot of the children today are going to lack many of skills that we and generations prior to us have taken for granted for so many years such as CREATIVITY, CURIOSITY, and RESOURCEFULNESS.  When children used to be able to imagine a stick was a sword they could swing or a horse they could ride that took a great amount of imagination and mental exercise.  Now all kids have to do is go online or play a video game that swings the sword at the tap of a button or makes the horse run with a click of the paddle, the game is being their imagination for them and due to that I feel like there is a lost generation being raised.

In closing, children of my father’s generation and earlier were like little MacGyver’s, while the children of today’s generation are like little Mac Guys (sorry Justin Long, nothing against you as an actor).  Please take time to encourage your children and the children around you to be creative, use their imaginations, burn energy outside and look at this amazing world we live in through their own eyes in splendid wonder.