The Importance of Being Disconnected

I treasure the time I have to myself — whether it’s an early morning walk along a seawall, in the local trails with my dog or in my car listening to music from the 70s. I do some of my best thinking when I’m alone.

But the daily reality is that my world (and other people’s as well) is filled with perpetual connection — email, texts, phone calls, social media as well as lots of personal meetings. And while I feel very lucky in both my personal and professional lives, they sometimes appear perpetually busy with connections.

Literally Thousands of Social Media Apps

Mobile devices have allowed us to stay connected in ways not possible even a few years ago. In particular, social media has led the way in interconnectedness — Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, Pinterest — they all allow for wonderful virtual connection and communication. Do a quick internet search and you find that there are literally THOUSANDS of social media apps designed for any number of connections — professional collaboration, sharing of personal events, dating, buying & selling, career exploration, etc.

Let me stop here for a minute to share a story about a recent meeting I had with one of the big educational minds in our world …

The Amazing Power of Music

Music surrounded me in childhood. My parents encouraged me to include music as part of my educational experience. I took piano lessons; played a band instrument in elementary, junior high and high school; even participated in the chorus of a high school musical (Fiddler on the Roof). In university I had a part-time job teaching in a community marching band.

Music can relax us like few other things can

I found music relaxing — finding that it somehow satisfied an area within me that wasn’t been addressed through my academic studies. I felt calmer when I listened to music, played music or taught music — a different area of my brain was being exercised. And like our sense of smell that has been proven to have an incredibly powerful linkage to our emotions, when I became involved with music I somehow felt better.

Students and Anxiety – A Reality for Some

Your heart is pounding. Your palms are sweating. Your stomach is doing flips. And then there are your pervasive thoughts — as you feel these physical symptoms your mind is spinning with worry and fear.

Now picture this as if you were a child. Your life experiences may be minimal. Your ability to be resilient may also be limited. And you are fearful.

Anxiety: “An emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.(American Psychological Association)

I’m not a psychologist. Not a therapist nor a counsellor. Nope — I’m not a mental health professional. My background is a science teacher who’s now a Superintendent — certainly not a trained expert on mental health or anxiety. But, it’s something I’ve been learning about.

This is Mental Health week in Canada – It’s Time to Speak Up