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How to Use Screen Time Mindfully

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Here are four ways to reduce the negative impact of your digital devices.

1. Monotask

Be intentional and try to avoid multitasking on your devices. Go to your phone or laptop for one specific purpose, and when you’ve finished, leave the screen behind. Don’t hang around to check just one more thing. That’s how we get caught.

2. Manage Negativity Bias

Our brains are wired to attend to threats, and we can see it in the way we get hooked by bad news online. So, practice seeking out the things that make you feel a little better or more connected, and try to steer clear of stories that act as emotional triggers.

3. Linger Longer

Reduce the number of sites you visit and spend a little more time at carefully chosen ones instead. Give yourself five minutes to read something instead of 20 to 30 seconds. You’ll notice a real difference in your state of mind if you engage deeply rather than skipping from one thing to another.

4. Be a Role Model

If we don’t manage our own screen use, our kids will notice and copy us. We can create positive change in our health and relationships by starting with our own habits.

This originally appeared in “This Is Your Brain on Screens ” in the November 2020 print issue of Experience Life.


Henry Emmons, MD
is an integrative psychiatrist and the author of The Chemistry of Joy, The Chemistry of Calm, and Staying Sharp. He is the cofounder of NaturalMentalHealth.com.

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Health & Fitness

Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and lightly oil a 9-x-13-inch baking dish.

In a 2-quart pot, bring the vegetable stock and lentils to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook until the lentils are tender but not falling apart, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and reserve the stock. Measure the stock and add water, if needed, to make a 1/2 cup.

While the lentils are cooking, place the parsnips in a second large pot and cover with water by an inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until the parsnips are tender when pierced, about 10 minutes. Drain, then place the parsnips in a food processor. Purée until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the nondairy milk, 1 tablespoon avocado oil, and 1 teaspoon salt, and purée to mix.

In a large skillet, warm the remaining avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to sizzle, about two minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the mushrooms, carrots, and remaining salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are shrunken and browned and other veggies are tender, about 15 minutes.

Add the thyme, sage, pepper, flour, and tomato paste. Stir until combined, then add the reserved stock from the lentils and bring to a low boil. Cook for about two minutes, then turn off the heat. Stir in the peas and cooked lentils, then scrape the mixture into the baking dish and smooth the top.

Spread the parsnip purée over the lentil mixture. Sprinkle with the paprika.

Bake until lightly browned and bubbling, about 35 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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