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culture, life

12 Things To Do That are Better Than Looking at a Screen

February 28, 2017 • By

Everywhere I go I see people looking at screens. Families at restaurants ignoring each other for Facebook, small children watching shows on a tablet while waiting for the dentist, even people watching TV while engaged with their iPad (two-fisted screen consumption!)

Despite all the research that’s proven the negative effects of all of our screen usage, we still do it. On average, Americans spend over 10 hours a day consuming media.

There’s something incredible that happens when we turn off our phones, take a break from our tablets, and power down our TV sets. It helps us to focus, gives us time for more meaningful activities, improves our relationships, and improves sleep.

To that end, I thought I’d provide you with a short list of activities you can do without a screen. Challenge yourself to add theses screen-less activities to your life and see what happens!

1. Read a book. Reading a book stimulates the brain, reduces stress, and improves concentration. Not only that, but the right books will help you to grow and equip you to do some cool stuff.

2. Take a nap. When was the last time you took a nap? A 15 to 90 minute nap can improve brain function and creativity. Not only that, they’re awesome!

3. Go for a walk. Walking prevents heart disease and diabetes. It also improves your mood. I frequently get great writing ideas while I’m walking. Walking’s one of my favorite activities!

4. Journal. Journaling promotes mindfulness, helps you reach your goals, and can even boost your IQ! I’ve been journaling for over 30 years and I love reading through old journals to see how far I’ve come.

5. Have more sex. Ever since we decided to keep the TV off on Monday nights, my wife and I have experienced an increase in lovin’. Put away the screens, turn on some Adele and see what happens ; )

6. Have a pleasant conversation with a family member. Let’s face it, much of our interactions with family members center around taking care of business, dealing with urgent issues, and reminding the kids to get their chores done. Intentionally sitting down to talk about life is such a joy so do it often!

7. Learn to play an instrument. Learning to play an instrument increases your memory capacity, enhances coordination, sharpens concentration, and relieves stress. It’s also super rewarding. I decided to learn guitar a few years ago and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

8. Make a bucket list. All those things you want to do before you kick the bucket are much more likely to happen if you simply write them down. In fact, research shows that people who write their goals down are 50% more likely to accomplish them than those who don’t!

9. Play some board games. Board games bring the family together, improve your response time, and reduces stress. Take one off the shelf, put out some snacks, and make a night of it.

10. Do something artistic. Drawing improves creativity, memory, and problem solving skills. It’s also fun to share our artwork with others and display it around the house.

11. Do a nice surprise for someone. Doing nice things for others reduces stress, promotes mental health, and can even help you live longer. Make someone’s day and it could change your life!

12. De-clutter the house.¬† De-cluttering promotes clarity and focus, and (you guessed it) reduces stress. Go through the garage and get rid of what you don’t need, give away those clothes you haven’t worn and notice how much lighter you feel.

That’s just 12 things you can do without a screen but there are many more. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments section below.

 


culture

7 Reasons Millennials Are Awesome

January 12, 2017 • By

Millennials.

Just the mention of them causes some folks to roll their eyes and question the future of our nation once the youngsters are running the place. It seems like a popular past-time to bash those who were born between 1980 and 2000. In fact, you can hardly scroll down your Facebook feed without seeing a blog post or article criticizing them for being entitled, lazy, or selfie-obsessed.

As a pastor who’s been leading Millennials for a while, I have to say I’ve really enjoyed spending time with the next generation. In fact, I’ve made a list of seven reasons why they’re awesome. Check it out.

They’re entrepreneurial. Millennials aren’t stuck in the mindset that you have to get a corporate job with benefits, put in 30 years, and be taken care of by the company through retirement. They’re okay with making less to do what they love, starting new businesses, and carving new paths.

They’re compassionate. I’ve never known a generation to care so much about making a difference in the world. For our camp for abused and neglected foster kids, many of our camp counselors are¬†Millennials and they come back year after year to invest in the lives of their campers. Some have even gone to foster care training so that they can open up their homes to the orphans of today.

They’re flexible. They don’t seem to be stuck in any particular way of doing things. If we make changes at that last minute or adjustments to the way things are done at the church, they just roll with it. I love that we can count on our Millennials to go with the flow.

They’re creative. Growing up, if I wanted to record an album, I had to pay a recording studio huge sums of money to make it happen. If I wanted to be a photographer, I had to purchase an expensive camera and pay to have my pictures developed (while I waited a couple days). If I wanted to make a movie, it would have cost more than a house! Millennials have grown up with affordable technology that helps make all that happen, and they’ve been able to foster those expressions since they were a very young age.

They’re tech-savvy. This goes along with my last point. Growing up with technology, there’s just no learning curve for them. When I was a kid, it was a big deal to be able to set the clock on the VCR without a manual. Millennials are programming virtual reality video games for fun in their spare time.

They’re transparent. I never have to wonder what a Millennial is thinking. I asked one what she though of my book and she answered, “I didn’t think it was going to be that good but I was really surprised.” Maybe not the most gracious answer, but I didn’t leave wondering how she really felt. Growing up in the age of Amazon reviews and social media has taught them to give their opinions plainly and with honesty.

They’re adventurous. This is one of my favorite Millennial traits. Every year or two, I take a foreign missions trip (most of the time to Ireland). I like to take people with me because the experience is wonderful, and has a way of expanding the way you see the world. Besides my mother, the only people who have been willing to go with me are Millennials. They’re okay with breaking their routine, taking time off work, and getting the money together. Instead of immediately thinking about the reasons they can’t, they think about ways they can! It’s an adventure and they’re in!

I’m excited and honored to get to pastor Millennials. I have high hopes for the future and, well, they’re pretty awesome.