The Crisis of Our Age: The Loss of Interior Life
The crisis of this modern age is that people are less in tune with their thoughts, feelings and internal experiences and more focused on the external world.
Essentially, we have started to miss out on our interior lives because we have become caught up in external achievements, appearances and distractions.
Losing touch with interior life may be a result of having increased access to technology, while being driven by advertising and media to focus on obtaining new things and achieving external goals.
However, various research has shown that connecting with your interior world can actually help alleviate stress and anxiety and increase your sense of happiness and satisfaction. Below, you’ll discover five simple (and meaningful!) ways to reconnect with your interior life and help you let go of some common external distractions.
Five ways to focus more on your internal experiences
1. Reduce Your Exposure to Advertisements
Have you ever noticed how advertisements compel you to go out and buy new things? That’s exactly what they’re designed to do. Advertising is meant to encourage and persuade you to purchase whatever they’re recommending. However, in recent years, the number of advertisements we’re exposed to each day has risen and risen. Digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to 4,000-10,000 advertisements each and every day. With all the increased exposure to advertisements, we are increasingly compelled to focus more on obtaining things externally and to focus less on our internal experiences.
By reducing your exposure to advertisements, you can have more opportunities to imagine, think, reflect and experience your internal world without distractions. You can reduce your exposure to advertisements by following fewer brands on social media, watching television shows which don’t have ad breaks, reading books instead of magazines and avoiding wandering around shopping centres.
2: Set Goals Based on How You Want to Feel
We love the amazing work of Danielle Laporte. Who advocates the setting of goals based on how you want to feel. Rather than choosing goals based on what you want to obtain or what you’d like to achieve, try to focus on facilitating certain feelings. For example, you might set yourself a goal to do something new each week which allows you to have fun. Another goal could be focused on feeling more romantic connections with your partner. So you might decide to go on a date night each week. Turn off all technology for the first hour after you both get home from work so you can talk. Then you can start a new hobby together.
The practice of setting goals based on how you want to feel helps you focus more on your internal experiences and less on outward goals.
3: Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of being in the present moment, with a sense of open-mindedness and non-judgement. It allows you to notice what you’re actually thinking and feeling, rather than ignoring or avoiding certain internal experiences.
For ten minutes each day, try observing your senses. Noticing your thoughts and experiencing your emotions, while letting go of any judgements which may surface.
This practice can help you become more in tune with your internal experiences. It can even give you a break from the busy (and sometimes, overwhelming!) outside world.
4: Put Your Phone Away
Our phones have become our constant companions. When we’re waiting in line at a store, we can open Instagram and scroll away the time. Also, when we’re struggling to fall asleep at night, we can listen to music or watch videos. When we’re feeling low, or lonely, or stressed, we can distract ourselves by playing games.
However, by regularly turning to our phones, we can take away our opportunities to think for ourselves. And to experience our own thoughts and feelings.
Why not try putting your phone away and being your own companion for a while?
5: Connect with Your Purpose and Intentions
Have you noticed yourself feeling like you’re going through the motions of your routines with no real purpose? It’s possible that you’ve lost touch with your internal wants and needs and you’re simply moving through life on autopilot.
You might like to try this simple practice:
When you wake up in the morning, notice your internal experiences. How are you feeling? What are you thinking? Which wants or needs require fulfilment? Use this information to set a couple of intentions for the day ahead. For example, if you’re feeling a little stressed and your thoughts are revolving around your to-do lists, you might set the intention to put your phone on silent so you can concentrate on your tasks and take care of yourself with a soak in the bath at the end of the day.
We’d love to hear how you’ll be focusing more on your internal life in the comments below!