Habits are Hard to Break

Habits are hard to break!

How we’ve become dependent on our digital devices
written by Jane Newlands BA, B.Ed, MA

How many times in a day do you reach for your phone or get caught on the computer without the ability to unplug?

An interesting conversation, and one worth having! We now know that the chemistry and the wiring of the brain can be manipulated, therefore what are the consequences and effects of technology on the individual? How are the changes in the way we operate daily with technology affecting levels of intimacy and connection, and why is it so difficult to unplug? When does a habit become an addiction, since we know that behavioural addictions – gambling, online porn, shopping – take hold because they trigger the same areas of the brain as drugs. Few believed the brain was plastic and that the media could work by, in some way, connecting to and rewiring our neurons. The same seems to be true with excessive screen-time, especially for the young developing brain and the damage to the brain’s frontal lobe.

Developed in a healthy environment, the frontal lobe largely determines success in every area of life, from a sense of well-being to academic or career success to relationship skills. This becomes a parenting dilemma and a constant battle to monitor screen time.

Referring to an article in the Globe and Mail, “The Great Disconnect” a discussion between tech titan Jim Balsillie and psychiatrist Norman Doidge, they question, “Are we capable to turn off the monitor, pull ourselves away, especially when we learn that big tech companies now hire teams of hundreds of neuroscientists to teach what applications will have the “stickiest” effect on the brain? These people are behavioural psychologists and behavioural neuroscientists whose focus is not therapeutic, but on manipulating behaviour to create craving and anxiety if we try to resist it.” What are the chances anyone has of not becoming addicted, and what are the costs? Perhaps take note of your level of anxiety with or without your screens. So many questions, and research is now available for those interested to know what the effects are of too much screen time.

Here is a link if you would like a more detailed explanation. http://drdunckley.com/reset-your-childs-brain/. Digital devices can be wonderful, creating and providing endless resources. There is no turning back, and the conveniences possibly outweigh the long term effects. Keeping in touch has never been easier, and we are capable of so much more, and information is so easily accessible. The list of advantages is endless, however, education and awareness of some of these alarming changes to the brain, and our behaviour, is important.

Relationships, intimacy and connection are affected if we only communicate by text or email. Social skills can become compromised without personal interaction.! It becomes important to perhaps reflect on how technology is integrated in your daily living, and the level of dependency. Staying connected requires disconnecting, with a conscious awareness and intention to not forget what is important. It’s a balancing act, and we can figure this out, through conversations, education and discussions together, whether as a couple, a family, or a business. It’s an important issue that affects all of us. Therefore, we all need to be involved in the solution, to be more active and speak up. Brains can be manipulated, but people can stay connected, and solutions are far more effective as a group and community. Anxieties and fears, false representations seen on Facebook, comparisons and judgements are harmful. Our brains are always developing, and we can choose what we pay attention to and how much attention we are willing to spend in digital isolation. Next time you interrupt a conversation answering your phone, spend hours glued to your computer or playing video games, ask yourself, is it urgent? The convenience of our digital devices may otherwise become a huge inconvenience!!

“Even though our phones and computers are so integrated into our lives, it’s important not to let them control how we’re living. We are the controllers of technology, not slaves of technology.”

Dalai Lama

Peace of Mind

How do you start your day?

Do you walk around with feelings of guilt, an inner state of dread or anticipation, as hard as you
try, you just never get everything done. Feelings of doubt, or “not enough” or perhaps defeated
before you finish, because you make mistakes, or it doesn’t always go the way you thought it
would. Or do you have feelings of anger and resentment, basically overwhelmed with all you
have to do?

For more, read the entire article by clicking on the link below:


Emotional Immunization



Emotions play an important role in regulating systems in the body that influence health. Research links negative emotions and lowered immunity, and what better time of the year to reflect and manage stress levels associated with possible negative emotions. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, an expert on stress and immunity, suggests that, “people with a more positive emotional disposition may be healthier.”

We know Juice Boosters, fortified with healthy ingredients for the immune system are great. But wouldn’t it be terrific if we could take a Jolly Booster Juice for emotional immunization, to support or promote positive emotions, made from joy, happiness, generosity, kindness, and love.

The holidays are supposed to be joyous occasions marked by meaningful traditions, family connections, spiritual rejuvenation and just plain fun. Instead, for many people, they’re hectic times, add family conflicts, time constraints, and budget concerns, the perfect recipe for the stress of excess!! Where’s that Jolly Booster Juice??

“Negativity bias” Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist, says, “the mind reacts to bad things more quickly, strongly and persistently than to equivalent good things.” It’s evolutionarily adaptive for bad to be stronger than good. Survival of the fittest! It is important to understand that everyone has his or her own level of mental health immunity. Like our regular immune systems, mental health immunity helps keep us on an even keel so we can cope with life’s stressors.

Everyone can be happy when things are going right; the trick is to continue that when things aren’t going well. Stress and anxiety reduction takes training and cultivating new skills. Learning to put your attention where it serves you best, requires the same sort of deliberate practice necessary to build any new skill. Training of attention and the capacity to cultivate specific emotions, are both helpful skills to boost your immune systems. Where attention goes, energy flows.

1. Create traditions that suit your family. Put some effort into creating traditions that suit your real-life family and budget.
2. Whatever you do, keep the focus on people rather than things, and realize that not everything has to be perfect.
3. Allow enough time for rest and relaxation, too. Many people overextend themselves trying to prepare for something wonderful, to the point where they deprive themselves of normal self-care.


1. Pause! A good starting place is simple self-awareness, because you can’t change what you don’t notice. For example, how are you feeling right now, in this moment? Start checking in with yourself several times a day – especially when you’re under pressure.

2. If there are negative feelings gnawing at you, do you know the cause, and is there anything you could do right away to solve the problem? If it’s just a negativity bias kicking in, try this exercise. Get a piece of paper and spend two or three of minutes writing down anything you’re especially grateful for in that moment. See what effect it has on how you’re feeling. The more you’re able to move your attention to what makes you feel good, the more capacity you’ll have to manage whatever was making you feel bad in the first place. Emotions are contagious, for better or worse. It’s your choice.

3. Pace yourself so you can get through all of the parties, events and family gatherings. It’s easy to get burned out and that’s why we all need to make time for ourselves to recharge our batteries.

4. Boundaries. Know yourself. This means knowing your innermost thoughts, beliefs, feelings, choices, and experiences. It also means knowing and connecting with your needs, feelings and physical sensations. Without knowing your true self, you can’t really know your limits and needs, i.e., your boundaries. This will also help you to more clearly define your needs when boundaries are crossed. it only takes a few minutes each day to experience brain changing gratitude that is rewiring your brain for happiness and well-being.

5. Be flexible. Having healthy boundaries doesn’t mean rigidly saying no to everything.

6. Stay out of judgment. Practice having healthy compassion for others.

7. Let go of judgment about yourself. Easier said than done, but start practicing compassion and acceptance. When you can accept yourself for who you are, there is less need to hide your true self. A more positive inner world helps your stress levels.

8. Stay open and curious. Be willing to listen to others about how your behaviors impacts them.

Leave a little sparkle wherever you go!