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4 Simple Steps to a Happier, Unplugged Life

Written by Meg Donahue
4 Simple Steps to a Happier, Unplugged Life

Ever been water skiing? 

Remember the first time you actually made it out of the water? That magical moment when you are defying physics. Suddenly you are no longer bobbing in the shallows trying not to cross the two fat boards attached to your feet. Man, you are up! Skimming across the water, one shaky hand wave to your mom on shore. You have arrived. 8-years-old and queen of the lake.

Then another boat passes yours, the waves from their wake hit your skis - you struggle, terrified. Oh, crud. You’re going down. You see everyone in the boat waving their arms, yelling something but you’re too scared to take it in…

 “…Let goooooo! Let goooooo of the rope…let goooooo.”

You hit the water hard, one ski flies off, you hang onto that rope for all you’ve got, the boat is still moving, you’re swallowing water, still determined to get back up. Finally, mercifully, the boat slows. You’re in the middle of the lake. You swim in your big orange life vest through the oily rainbow of gas that’s pooled near the motor and grab the side of the boat, too tired to try again.

Why didn’t you just let go?

Because it’s counterintuitive. It makes no sense to let go when you’re just trying to hang on. 

Nobody wants to unplug (Let Go) when you are convinced being plugged in (Holding On) is what keeps you going.


Maybe you can relate.

Ever have those days when you just can’t even…

Hold your temper. Restrain tongue or pen. Be nice. Forgive.
Read one more Facebook post that asks you to cut, paste, and type amen.
Read another inspirational anything.
Buck up.
Worry another second if you are spending too much time on your phone. (You are.)
Fret about how many stupid carbs, protein, or calories you’re eating. (You’re most likely not a nutritionist/scientist, so stop. You’re making most of it up anyway.)

inspirational quote

Even though our troubles may not be exactly the same, some of the best advice I ever got to steer me towards feeling grateful for my life again is actually really, really simple. So simple I was tempted to discount it.

The simple fix.

It’s easy, works like a chaaahhm, as my Boston friends say, and doesn’t cost a thing.

When you notice, (or someone points it out to you) that you’re feeling grouchy, dispirited, and spiraling downward into existential despair...try this bait-and-switch move on your mind.

Get some sleep.
Eat a decent meal.
Call a friend who makes you laugh.
Help someone.

It’s like pressing the little red reset button on your Wi-Fi router.

There’s a boatload of scientific and spiritual literature on why this simple distraction technique works to re-center us. The good news is you don’t need to read all of it to get the benefits.  You can test it out next time you’re feeling out of sorts.

To unplug from the crazy and get back to loving your life, remember to:

Get some solid rest, eat a little something (plant-based is a good idea), play with a friend who lifts you up, help someone out. 

Told you, it’s almost too simple. But it works.

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