NotificationsRecently I changed e-mail service providers. In setting up all of the features, the notifications banners were turned on to alert me to new e-mail messages, when they arrive.

These alerts included pinging bells and a sneak preview of the messages on my phone and tablet– why not share my e-mail with everyone with a line of sight to my devices?!

Next thing I knew, my peaceful world was being disrupted more than usual with all of the noise and visual distractions arriving every few minutes.

I started to consider how often we’re notified of what’s going on in the world. We’re inundated with banners announcing text messages, phone calls, e-mails, breaking news from the media, “fear of missing out” social media updates, tweets, and instant portraits of everyday activities.

Between all of the personal and business notifications we receive, it’s no wonder we all feel more and more disconnected in this interconnected world.

Here’s an idea. Stop notifying and start noticing.

Notice how you feel.

When receiving all of this information, notice how you feel after reading a post, hearing a message, or viewing an image.

If the notification makes you feel connected, informed, productive, or humored, then the activity is likely worth keeping.

However, if these notifications create the feelings of being burdened, overwhelmed, distracted, or worthless, take note. Maybe those activities should be dropped.

I use this technique in everyday life. Whether it’s plans to meet a friend, a desire to splurge on an expensive item I don’t really need, or a decision of what to eat for dinner, I always tune into how the thought of the activity or choice makes me feel.

Does it make me happy or not? Will it take me closer to my goals or not? Our minds will rationalize one decision, but our bodies know the truth. Once I pay attention to how I feel, then I can determine how to proceed.

If the thought of spending time with a friend brings me joy, then I’ll make plans to get together. However, if the thought of spending money on something luxurious creates stress or anxiety, it’s a sign that it’s not appropriate for me to make a purchase. When making a choice for dinner, perhaps a burger and fries sounds like something I’d love to eat. Yet, if I pay attention to what my body is saying, I notice myself saying “once past the lips, forever on the hips”, which doesn’t feel very good.  Noticing that leads me to a healthier choice instead.

Beyond everyday activities, this practice can serve you well with bigger life decisions. Stuck in a job that no longer fits with your dreams or life goals? Hanging onto a relationship that’s gone nowhere for years? Longing to relocate to another city, yet you stay put anyway? Pay attention to how you feel. You might find these are signs it’s time to take action.

Start noticing how you feel. End the discomfort by stopping or adjusting those activities. It might just lead you to a better life!

Stop Notifying. Start Noticing.

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