As we progress through the information age, we’re also becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of modern living. We spend too much time in front of screens, falling into sedentary daily routines. Substituting real food and social interactions with fast food and social media has resulted in poorly fed bodies and minds.
It’s an unhealthy mix of factors, and few people seem to escape the adverse effects. The conveniences offered by advances in technology and society in general are too great to ignore. But you don’t have to try to convince everybody to go back to a traditional, or even primitive, way of living.
You only need to make a few changes to your habits and activities. And modern lifestyles could use a shake-up. Here are some ways you can reconnect with nature and benefit from the potential of your primal instincts.
By definition, a natural way of living is incompatible with technology and other elements of your everyday life. Worrying about work, current events, or the various influences present on social media will only increase your stress and anxiety. It’s counterproductive to the whole exercise.
Of course, most of us can’t just quit our jobs and go off the grid. But it’s essential to make use of whatever flexibility you can find. We can all manage to spend less time on our devices every day. Avail of your vacation leave at work, or practice meditation for at least an hour each day.
Disconnecting from the trappings of modern living won’t just help you find balance and relieve stress. It allows you to be more aware and pay attention to things that matter. You can strengthen your relationships and feel more recharged after taking time off in this way.
Learn to survive
You can benefit from nature by simply spending time in your garden or a local park. But there’s a lot more potential to be unlocked by going outdoors and practicing old-fashioned survival.
Our ancestors didn’t enjoy the luxury of being able to store food in the refrigerator. Today, going on a supply run means heading down to the supermarket or convenience store. In traditional societies, you’d actually have to forage and hunt in the wild.
You don’t have to starve or get into extreme situations when you head outdoors. It’s like visiting a haunted attraction; you won’t get hurt, but you can get a healthy scare. It gets your blood pumping. You rediscover what it means to be alert, engaged, resourceful, and intuitive.
Being an outdoorsman also lets you sharpen useful life skills. Learn to start a fire, navigate in the forest, avoid danger, and put up a shelter. Modern society doesn’t call for these skills, but knowing you can do them builds confidence. And that, along with the other intangibles you practice, will translate to many aspects of living.
Connect with food
Food is a critical part of human survival. Yet as mentioned earlier, modern convenience has diminished our connection to food. We idly wonder whether we have the time to spare for dining out or cooking at home, or where we should order takeout. It has been reduced to just another minor decision point.
Hunter-gatherers had to learn the difference between what was good for you and what could prove poisonous. As humans learned agriculture, they selectively bred plants, domesticated animals, and passed down recipes that unlocked essential nutrition. Today, the average family has lost food literacy.
You don’t have to cook over a campfire to reconnect with your food. Learn more about where different ingredients come from, how they are sourced, what nutrition they provide, and how different recipes affect their flavor. And make a habit of preparing your own meals. It will help save money and improve your health along the way.
Socialize without technology
Much has been made of how technology helps us to stay in touch. Our phones don’t just let us call or text anytime; they go hand-in-hand with the social media experience.
But communicating through technology, particularly online channels, is a vastly different experience from traditional methods of socializing. It changes our behavior, and it lowers the overall quality of interactions and relationships.
We often struggle with basic communication skills. Making small talk or sustaining a conversation over dinner takes effort. It’s much easier to pull out our phones and do something else.
You can change that by taking away the escape clause. Spend hours at mealtime, appreciating food, keeping the conversation flowing, getting to know people. Rediscover that most human of skills, socializing, in the absence of technology.
None of these changes are extreme, but they require effort. Commit to the practice, and you can appreciate life better and be a more effective human.