People have loved practicing mindfulness and meditation for centuries – and for good reason. Studies have found that this time-honored tradition has huge mental and physical benefits. Research attributes mindfulness to increased focus and working memory as well as increased quality of life. Also attributed are reductions in anxiety and stress, so with all these reasons to be mindful what's stopping us?
In this new age of technology, distraction is just a click away. Tiny pocket-sized devices provide hours of entertainment with a few taps of a finger. This daily intake of likes, notifications and messages does come at a cost. Technology has brought with it many great conveniences but not without consequence. Overuse of technology has been linked to depression, anxiety and many other mental health issues that are currently on the rise. Developing mindfulness can help to prevent and even repair these negative impacts of technology.
Mindfulness revolves around living and perceiving within the present moment. It's about following the senses of the here and now, rather than getting lost down a train of thought or in an Instagram fueled daze. Mindfulness can be as simple as taking the time to just listen, smell, see or feel within the present moment. Between responsibilities, thoughts, and notifications, staying mindful through a busy day is no easy task. Check out the following tips on staying mindful in this age of distraction.
Learn to become aware of your breathing
With so many technological distractions it is too easy to simply get lost in your Facebook feed or in a loop of checking for emails. Following the breath takes no time at all but the effects can be dramatic. Take a moment to become aware of your breaths. Are they regular or fast? Are they shallow or deep? Focus on the air as it trickles in through the nose and into the lungs. Focus on the feeling on the lips as it pours slowly from the body. Close your eyes and try it for a few breaths
It's that simple to bring your attention to the breath and you just did it while using technology! Developing awareness within the simple processes of thinking and breathing can help to slowly train the brain to be more mindful.
Break your habits for a few days
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your thoughts and concerns, see if you can take a vacation. Look for a place where you can unplug and enjoy nature. Ideas include seaside resorts or even farm stays, where you can enjoy a more laid-back, peaceful environment to gather your thoughts. By leaving your phone at home you can help to break negative habits like mindless phone checking.
Set up new habits
A simple, focused inhale and exhale before unlocking your cell phone can help to bring you back to the present moment. Bringing the attention to the breath before using a phone can also help you to be more mindful of how much time you spend on your phone.
Practise mindfulness every day
Skip Netflix for one weekend and find a therapeutic activity instead. Visiting an art gallery is a great, therapeutic way to practise simple awareness. Pick a piece of work that strikes you and draws you in. Can you give it your full attention for five minutes?
Turn your phone to airplane mode, set a timer and practise awareness in your thoughts. Focusing on just one piece of art sounds easy, but the mind naturally wanders. If you find yourself lost in thought, that's okay, bring the attention back to your breathing. Focus on the painting in front of you and the sounds in the room. Focus on the present moment.
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