As if there weren't enough ways to avoid what’s going on in our minds, e-mail and social media are now routed to our mobiles to distract us all day long. As convenient as this may be, this hyper-connectedness means that now even the slightest feeling of boredom or restlessness is a trigger to get online and keep busy.
Take a moment to think about this. What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Do you check your e-mail from your bed? Do you immediately hop on Facebook or catch up with your Twitter feed? And what’s the last thing you do at night before going to sleep? If the research is accurate, then there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll be doing at least one of these things at either end of the day, if not all of them. It’s pretty hard to switch off when you’re permanently plugged in.
The modern world makes it difficult to "turn off." Rather than attempt to stop or change the presence of technology (which has also brought us so many wonderful things), we need to look at how we can relate to it skillfully and not feel overwhelmed. Below are five practical tips on the mindful use of technology from the meditation experts Headspace to help you make the most out of your experiences in an ever-increasingly tech-driven world.
1. Choose Wisely
It is not what technology does to us, it is what we do to technology. Used skillfully, it can improve and enhance our lives beyond our wildest imagination. Used unskillfully, it can leave us feeling lonely, isolated, agitated and overwhelmed. Get smart with technology, choose wisely and use it in a way that benefits both you and those around you.
2. Respond Calmly
A reactive mind is an unpredictable mind, easily agitated and often overwhelmed. When we live in a way that encourages this reactivity, such as grabbing the phone as though it were an emergency every time it rings, we encourage this pattern to continue. So take the time to pause, exhale and be present. Begin your conversation in the right frame of mind, clear, calm and ready to listen.
3. Engage Socially
The digital age allows us to engage with positive causes and social missions in a way once thought unimaginable. In a fast-paced world it can stimulate change, disseminate knowledge, build community and encourage support. Social engagement of this kind has the power to break down barriers, to bring us closer together, allowing us to shape and define the values we wish to live by, for both ourselves and others.
4. Breathe Deeply
How often have you sent an email to the wrong person, or taken to twitter without considering the consequences? What’s the hurry? The world can surely wait another 30 seconds to hear what we have to say. So take time to pause, to breathe, to check, before pushing that button.
5. Communicate Kindly
Whilst technology may have increased our frequency of communication, it has come at considerable cost. The digital space is seen by many as a place to say what they want, how they want and when they want. Sure, freedom of speech has its place, but not if the desired result is to intentionally hurt or harm others. So play nice, communicate kindly and enjoy the happy, healthy side of technology.
Want more tips on how to make meditation part of your day? Headspace is meditation made simple, accessible and relevant to your everyday life. Sign up for the free Take10 program to get the basics just right with guided audio programs and support to get your Headspace, anytime, anywhere on the Headspace app.