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'Empty and Too Full All at Once' – Why Quiet Time Is So Important

child meditating, quiet time

Quiet time is vital to ensure proper brain function in children and adults.

“The average American teenager sends or receives 75 text messages a day, though one girl in Sacramento managed to handle an average of 10,000 every 24 hours for a month,” the author Pico Iyer wrote in the Sunday Times. (Wait a minute… when did my niece visit Sacramento?) My sister’s daughter, now at the ripe old age of 14, is a perfect specimen for analyzing the Google generation. She can text in her pocket, using only one hand, and she claims that she can text, watch TV and hold a conversation all at the same time. My 6-year-old loves playing with her teenage cousin but always laments the fact that she has to compete with a phone for attention.

“Since luxury, as any economist will tell you, is a function of scarcity, the children of tomorrow,” Iyer postulates, “will crave nothing more than freedom, if only for a short while, from all the blinking machines, streaming videos and scrolling headlines that leave them feeling empty and too full all at once.”

If you can ignore the obnoxious humble-bragginess that permeates Iyer’s piece at an intensity that would make Gwyneth Paltrow blush (my favorite is, “It’s vital, of course, to stay in touch with the world, and to know what’s going on; I took pains this past year to make separate trips to Jerusalem and Hyderabad and Oman and St. Petersburg, to rural Arkansas and Thailand and the stricken nuclear plant in Fukushima and Dubai.”), you should give it a read. He makes a lot of poetic points about why we should do our best to reclaim stillness in 2012, and how we can. Slowing down, he says, makes us more empathetic and allows our minds to work on a deeper level. Most of us will turn to yoga for relaxation, as Iyer notes a lot of people already do, and some of us will choose to get away from our homes in rural Japan to a Benedictine hermitage where we can get lost “in a book, a conversation, a piece of music.” (Cuz life in rural Japan is a bitch, you guys, am I right???)

I have to say, I’ve been so busy recuperating from the holiday break (humble brag alert: I ate so many cookies and hardly gained a pound or ten!!!), I haven’t even taken the time to make a list of my resolutions on paper yet. (I have til 12th night, I keep telling myself.) But one of them is to return to yoga, which I started doing after my divorce and which I am convinced saved my life. (It certainly restored my sanity.) Please note, taking photos of yourself in yoga poses, as I did in the link above, is one of The 10 Things You’ll Do Once You Start Yoga (That Have Nothing To Do With Yoga).

I was telling a friend last night that I had only gotten 6 hours of sleep for the previous two nights, and that even though based on all of the things I want to accomplish in this life, I should learn how to function on that much sleep, I just can’t. I said, “I know where I can find the two extra hours. I just have to take them away from Facebook.” But the Internet is my job, and in the course of doing my job, it’s pretty easy to get distracted by the very thing that employs me. (Yes, I did have a legitimate Hall and Oates emergency yesterday that needed to be taken care of right away, in case you were wondering.)

What are your plans for reclaiming some peace and quiet in your life? Are you hoping for a more placid 2012?

Photo via Flickr

 

Babble suggests 7 Ways to Reduce Kids’ Tech Use!

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