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7 Ways to Practice Mindfulness in the Technology Age
I think we’ve all experienced that awkward moment, when you’re speaking to someone and the cell phone rings. For a moment one person glances at their phone, while the other wonders if they’re about to be trumped by a phone call. No one likes being ignored in the midst of a cell conversation. It’s rude. But this is the reality of our 21st century lifestyle, where technology constantly competes for our attention. Social media, cell phones, emails and iGadgets. It’s hard to keep track of it all. And it can stress you out. Twenty years ago, we did not face the same challenges of managing our time and energy. We live in unprecedented times of distraction and stimulation. We are connected 24/7 — and oddly, disconnected.
It isn’t just the plethora of tech offerings that keep us feeling preoccupied and divided, it is ourrelationship to these devices that keep us wanting more. What can we do to shift our relationship to the technology that surrounds us? How can we make technology work for us and not the other way around?
The good news is we can use technology as a tool to raise our awareness. We can do this by paying attention and asking ourselves questions about the way we use our technology. Just notice: Do you hold your breath when you’re working on the computer? Do you notice how often you feel compelled to check your cell phone?
Here are seven ways you can practice mindfulness with your technology platforms. Try these practices as an experiment to raise your own awareness. Refrain from judging yourself or being too harsh about how these practices work for you. These exercises are intended to raise awareness by simply being aware.
1) When the cell phone rings: Have you ever noticed how quickly you respond to the phone ringing? From the moment it rings, do you instantly feel the need to respond right away? Does a ringing phone knock you out of your present moment or disconnect you from the people you’re with?
Try taking three deep breaths and center yourself before answering the phone. Experience a moment of presence before answering the phone. Notice what it’s like to pause before your answer.
2) Before checking email: Do you ever make a bee-line to your email first thing in the morning? Do you feel the need to constantly check your email?
From the moment you think of checking your email, try waiting 1-2 minutes, or take 10 breaths before checking your email. Notice if this is a challenging practice for you. During those 60 seconds, become highly aware of your breath, feeling state, what you’re thinking. Are you impatient, anxious, relaxed? What are you looking for in your email?
Pay close attention to your bodily sensations.