With the holidays approaching, I have been thinking about Alice in Wonderland and the idea of falling down the rabbit hole. It seems that there are more opportunities for folks to fall down during this time. T'is the season, eh? According to Google, the definition of rabbit hole is: "...a bizarre, confusing, or nonsensical situation or environment, typically one from which it is difficult to extricate oneself."

When I say "Rabbit Hole", I am referring to anything that you experience inside or outside of you that you find confusing, bizarre, nonsensical; that which is difficult to free yourself of.

For instance, an addiction can be one's Rabbit Hole. And, let's be honest, don't we all have one? How many of us could honestly say that we are addicted to our phones? How many times have you checked your phone since you awoke this morning? How many of us get anxious if we don't have our phone, can't find it, break it; all of the above?

How many of us have a ritual of checking the phone each time you hear or see a message come through? Or checking it and responding to someone while having an intimate conversation with your spouse or partner, friends at dinner, playing with your children, or in an appointment or meeting?

That is just one "Rabbit Hole" of addictions. But it indeed keeps us disconnected, which is really quite ironic, isn't it?

A device created to keep us connected to others and the world actually disconnects us from intimacy, having a true connection, an actual conversation; socialization.

Day in and day out I hear about relationships that have gone south because of a lack of intimacy. Although we treat a variety of "Rabbit Hole" issues~from infidelity, to problems with non-sexual and sexual intimacy, to prevention for potential sex offenders, to sexual anorexia, to substance abuse, eating/health issues, and trauma, one area that often gets missed in treating these other addictions is the "Rabbit Hole" of being addicted to one's phones, which is a main culprit for decreasing intimacy in relationships.

People often think intimacy is sexual. It's not. Intimacy starts outside of the bedroom via non-sexual connection and non-sexual touching (not groping your partner, but gentle touching). Statistically speaking, both men and women alike need 8-10 non-sexual touches to feel connected; connected enough to be sexual with one another.

Let's add another important component into the mix: How is being addicted to your phone keeping you from connecting to your children/teens and how is their obsession with their phone keeping them from connecting to you and others? What are they learning via social media that you would prefer teaching them?

Have they also fallen down the "Rabbit Hole" of addiction in this sense? I would not be naive to what your children and teens are or have been exposed to on-line. They see and read stuff they shouldn't see and read (i.e.,stuff that can be traumatizing, hurtful, confusing, etc).

I don't mean to dismiss the nay-sayers who continue to argue that pornography isn't addictive (everyone is entitled to their opinion), but their argument goes against all the brain research that shows a connection between looking at pornography and changes in the brain similar to those the are addicted to alcohol and cocaine (for more information on this google Valerie Voon, Dr. David Hilton, for example).

Guess where your child, girl or boy (let's not be naive and think females don't look at porn), first saw pornography? By the way, on average, depending on what country you research, children (both boys and girls) are exposed to pornography by the time they are 10 to 11 years old (5th or 6th grade). If you ask, they likely will say they haven't seen it, but let's be honest with ourselves....everyone has seen it whether we want to or not. Welcome to the digital age...sadly.

Some research suggests that by the time all high schoolers graduate from high school they will have been exposed to pornography via their phones,a friend's phone, a computer or other device while not with you. Can you say "Rabbit Hole"?

I realize this may seem depressing to read about, or frustrating, or even angering for some of you. Especially since a majority of us has a phone, and several other screens for that matter. After all, this is a major "Rabbit Hole" that seems impossible to escape, and necessary for a lot of reasons.

But, this is also a "Rabbit Hole" that deserves to be addressed, especially with the approaching holidays when connection is integral.

So, why not make the journey of falling into the "Rabbit Hole" Worthwhile?

Why not make some simple changes that will benefit you, your relationship with your spouse, and your relationship with your children and friends?

Follow these simple steps and I assure you that your connection with your intimate relationships will improve, as well as your energy, and mood (since staring at screens often leaves us with foggy brains, sometimes headaches, and confuses our sleep cycle-especially if we look at our screens at bedtime). STEP 1: Create a commitment that when you and your loved ones are eating together, you put your phones away. This may mean you turn them on airplane mode, silence them, and put it in your back pocket, coat pocket, bag, back pack, or purse. Make a commitment to not look at them and instead HAVE A CONVERSATION.

STEP 2: Unplug! Leave your phones outside of your bedrooms for bed. Give your brain a rest! Research continues to suggest that when we have the light of our screens on during our sleep cycle (10p.m.-6 a.m.), it confuses our brains, and causes a lot of havoc mentally and physiologically.

STEP 3: Unplug as much as you can on the weekend. Do what you can to avoid falling into the "wonderland" of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Be present in your relationships, go do an activity, read a book. This will begin to heal the Rabbit Hole of disconnection in your relationships.

By following these three simple steps, you and your loved ones will start to get out of the Rabbit Hole of being addicted to disconnection from reality, which in turn will increase connection on a deeper level with your outside world.

The holidays are around the corner making this "Rabbit Hole" tempting indeed, especially with all the stress that comes with connection to family, etc. Start now and make this "Rabbit Hole" experience a beautiful learning one by getting out of it.

And, always remember:

You are worth it!

Namasté,

Candice

CARI HAS A FEW MORE OPENINGS FOR HER HOLIDAY HEALTH CLASS THAT STARTS TONIGHT 11/9/15! $25 per class! Learn how and what to eat to increase your mental and physical energy over the holidays and improve your mood; how sleep is KEY in our health, stress, and with weight, and so much more! November and December! "Tis the Season the Be Healthy" Class with Cari Junge, Integrative Health Advisor. RSVP: cari@namasteadvice.com.

Contact info: NAMASTEADVICE.COM; 801-272-3500

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