Technology is thought to be the ultimate villain when it comes to mindfulness. We spend too much time on Facebook, check our phones constantly and reach for Google any time a question pops into our mind. With so many distractions, how is one to remain mindful?
Yet, technology is not good or bad. It’s simply a tool designed to make our lives easier. Or harder. We get to choose. While we may believe that the only way to be mindful with technology is to step away from our devices completely, for most of us this is rarely practical. Instead, why not bring mindfulness into your digital habits? Here are some ideas on how to do it.
When the phone rings or when you receive an alert from one of your apps, do you feel the urge to respond immediately? Take a few breaths and notice what is happening. What thoughts are running through your head? How do you feel in your body? Is your breath deep or shallow? Don’t judge your experience, just become aware before moving on to answer the phone or check your alert.
Check in with yourself often
Whether you’re working or entertaining yourself with technology, stop every now and then to notice how you’re feeling. What physical sensations are you experiencing? Are you relaxed or is there tightness in your stomach? Do your shoulders feel stiff? There is no need to do anything with your awareness, unless you want to.
Pay attention to your device
This mindfulness technique comes from Rohan Gunatillake’s book This Is Happening: Redesigning Mindfulness for Our Very Modern Lives. Usually, we pay attention to the content on our screen, not the physical device. Next time you reach for your phone, notice its texture, the pressure against your hand, its temperature. When you look at the TV, get curious about the screen, the frame, reflections. Noticing the physical presence of an object as well as the content it displays brings more depth to our awareness of the present moment.
When you are writing an email or scrolling through your Facebook feed, it is easy to feel anonymous and alone. Yet, behind each screen, each interaction, there is a real person. When take a moment to remind yourself of this, you will craft each word you type with more care and your online conversations will become deeper and more meaningful.
Use mindfulness apps
With a wealth of mindfulness and meditation apps available, technology can support you in building your new mindfulness habits. If guidance makes it easier for you to focus your attention on the present moment, you can find plenty of meditations to suit any time constraints.
Insight Timer has over 9,000 free guided meditations, tracks and talks, some just one minute long. You can also meditate with a timer and get recognition for meditating daily.
Breethe is another app with free meditations to use throughout the day. Meditations can be used to set up your intention in the morning, release stress during the day, feel happier or relax before drifting off to sleep.
Smiling Mind offers programs to learn about mindfulness meditation in a more structured away. It can be tailored to adults and children from 7 years old, so it’s a great app to choose when you want to get the whole family involved.
Tatiana is a freelance writer and a mum of three living in Sydney. After a 10-years’ break, she has just returned to full-time work. She is still finding time for yoga, meditation and mindfulness, which is making a huge difference to her sanity and her enjoyment of life.