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The Get Over Yourself Podcast

Sep 13, 2018

Relax, retrain, forgive, repeat!

Dr. Goldstein’s show is going to stop us distracted, multitasking, text binging, social media addicted modern humans in our tracks and rock our world! We all know the dangers and drawbacks of hyper-connectivity and distractibility, and our diminishing focus and mindfulness in hectic modern life, but we seem to be collectively shrugging our shoulders, complaining a bit here and there, and carrying on, glued to our devices. My visit with Dr. Goldstein had a deep impact on me, because he explained beautifully how our repeated use of technology gets integrated into habit. We have engaged in “intentional practice and repeated it until it becomes automatic--until it becomes habit.”


We often talk about habit-forming in a positive context. Hey, I love my morning chest freezer cold plunge—listen to my podcast on that topic! We are all good at fastening seat belts and brushing our teeth each day. But what about undesirable, stress-producing behaviors that have become habits to our detriment? We know that humans are wired to respond with a dopamine burst to novel stimulation in our environment; in primal times it was a rustling in the bushes, today it’s the ding of text message. Consequently, a couple years ago, I bravely and proudly turned off all notifications and text message sounds on my phone. Oh yeah, but how many times do I reach for my phone over the course of a day—to see if I have any text messages, because my text messages don’t beep? OUCH! It’s hard to talk our way out of the negative aspects of technology.


I tried when I explained how I love my iPhone because I’m no longer bored when standing in line at the bank. Now I can be productive. Dr. Goldstein explains that he too loves technology and it can improve our lives in many ways, but we have to be mindful and disciplined in our use of technology. Yes, I know how importance your text messages and emails are, and obviously so do your friends who endure repeated distractions during live interactions in favor of you attending to your dings and buzzes.


We acknowledge that hyper-connectivity makes us tense and stressful, but have difficulty transforming to a new way of being because of the powerful force of habits. Dr. Goldstein explains how we can take control and experience more happiness and peace in daily life. First, actively relax when you notice the routine daily events that cause your body to body tense up (traffic, social media binges, contentious conversations). Second, retrain your attention away from multitasking or feelings of anxiety and into a relaxed state of present awareness. Third, when you fall off track and succumb to the distractions of modern life, forgive yourself, and invite yourself to begin your practice anew the next day or the next minute. Finally, repeat steps 1-3 for the rest of your life. Habit retraining requires repetition and endurance.


Dr. Goldstein has written books like Uncovering Happiness, The NOW Effect, Mindfulness Meditation, MSBR Every Day stands for (mindfulness based stress reduction). He operates the Center for Mindful Living in Los Angeles with his wife Stefanie. They offer an awesome six-month intensive online Course in Mindful Living with expert guidance and group support. Slow down, relax, and listen carefully to this show.