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There is no avoiding this truth. The older you are , the more cyberphobic your are …and the less likely you are to even know what Cyberphobia is! This series will be an attempt you help educate those of us lost in Internet/App/Smartphone/Social Media hell so that this thing – which is not going anywhere I might add – might be a little less frightening and seem a little more “user friendly”. There are those of us who fall into the category of standard users. We post on Facebook, we might even use Instagram. We love Pinterest and Amazon. We might play a little Candy Crush or Trivia Crack; maybe a little Pandora or Spotify provide us with music and 30-day fitness or Peloton help us start our day with a light workout… we might even do some online banking but start talking about Venmo or Zenni, Headspace or Calm, Lipsi or Face Secret we get that “deer in the headlights” look and start making excuses “I don’t have time for that stuff.” “I just don’t trust those things.” Or “Why in the world would anybody want THAT?” Well, we are going to take a look at some of these apps and hopefully, you may find something that actually appeals to you. And if you do try one, or some, it is our hope you will let us know what your experience was as we venture forth into the realm of… Cyberphobia.We are going to start with a fairly simple app called Headspace. The most appealing aspect of this app is that it talks to you in a very appealing voice. Interestingly, that voice just happens to be the voice of the GEICO gecko. That’s right. The voice of the GEICO gecko used to be a Tibetan Monk, until he decided he was more interested in meditation than being a monk and so he began teaching people how to meditate. Meditation has become popular over the years as our lives become noisier, more hectic and increasingly more stress producing. A Gallup report from 2014 estimated that the average full-time worker in the United States works 47 hours a week, one of the highest figures in the world, and significantly higher than the rates in Western Europe. For example, in Europe, the Working Time Directive gives employees in the European Union the right to work no more than 48 hours a week. In practice, employees in some countries, like Germany and Sweden, work closer to 35 hours a week, according to Cary Cooper, an American-born professor at Manchester Business School in the United Kingdom. According to the careers website Glassdoor, the average US employee who receives paid vacation only actually takes 54% of the allotted time each year. Compare to that to a country like Sweden, where workers get five weeks of paid vacation a year, and it’s no surprise that they reject the American system. The United States doesn’t guarantee any paid leave to new parents, instead leaving it up to individual employers. And Americans are notorious for eating at their desks. Consequently, many Americans struggle with being “still”. HEADSPACE is an app designed to guide the listener through 3, 5, up to 10 minutes of being still, also known as guided mediation. This soft lovely voice will take you through a very abbreviated exercise where you simply sit quietly, and notice the weight of your body pushing against the couch, the expanding and collapsing of your chest as you breathe, and your mind wandering off to contemplate tonight’s dinner, or an email you received, what you keep forgetting to pick up at the store, until the voice gently brings you back to your breathing and slowly back from wherever the experience took you. I have now had 8 sessions of 5 minutes each. I have felt dreamlike a few times, once I went to sleep. I was unable to sit still a couple of times and once was rudely interrupted by my cat. But all in all, I am amazed by the impact that 5 minutes has on the start of my day. It is refreshing and curious. I recommend it. You can find it in your app store and others that are probably much like it. I am doing the BASICS program – its free. Oh, and it is available on the web too if you prefer to try it with your computer. Give it a listen and let me know what you think. Taking 5 minutes out of your day is not as difficult as one would expect. Next week: Instant Money??? No Way!

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