03 May 6 ways to apply mindfulness to your digital habits
The average person checks their smartphone 150 times a day and our smartphone habits increasingly remove us from the present moment and leave us hopelessly distracted. Here are six ways you can apply more mindfulness to your digital habits, starting from now.
#1 Limit your source consumption
With the vast amount of information that is available on our smartphones, tablets and computers it’s certainly difficult to keep up with it all. You’re in effect consuming a huge amount of data, information, news, messages and entertainment all in very short periods of time.
This proliferation of sources is what’s causing you to stay online for a longer amount of time than you need to. By reducing the amount of time you spend on specific sources and then moving on to something else once your mind begins to tire, you’re relieving yourself from the overload of information that you’ve been trying to keep up with.
#2 Find the time to unplug
We all get caught up with the continuous checking and responding to emails – that’s a given. The flooding of incoming phone calls and text messages on top don’t help and don’t give us the chance to make time for ourselves.
Finding the time to unplug and stay in the present moment is essential because it will allow you to do one thing at a time and acknowledge the reasons why you’re doing it. Planning and sticking to schedules will also help you not wander around online aimlessly.
#3 Decrease your social media usage
Using social media with limitations is definitely a good idea. However with the increase in connections, followers and friends lists, you may begin to feel left out if you aren’t always connected and engaged with what’s happening around the world.
Simply not giving in to social media, and being mindful of the amount of time it is consuming each day, can help you stay connected to the real world, giving you the space in your life to develop real relationships not virtual ones.
#4 Take a moment
Whilst you are browsing the internet on your smartphone, tablet or computer and end up waiting for a page to load, instead of opening up a new tab, just take a minute to relax in the moment. You can use the time that you find yourself waiting to meditate for a few minutes and observe the flow of your breath. Start to notice your breathing and the things you don’t always acknowledge by staying rooted in the present.
#5 Develop a sense of digital awareness
Become aware of your relationship with your digital devices and your state of mind when you are interacting with them. When you receive messages, texts, tweets and Facebook notifications, stay aware of how you feel when you have read them. What kind of feelings arise when you browse the internet? Or when you are multitasking online? Or when someone ‘likes’ or comments on one of your posts?
Becoming non-judgmental and an objective observer of your emotions when you’re using technology will help you stay mindful, giving you choices in your relationship with technology rather than becoming a reactor to everything you see.
#6 Utilise those mindfulness triggers
Each time your digital devices ring or beep, they’re trying to distract you. But instead of seeing these alerts as a distraction, you can use them as an aid to become mindful of the present moment. So whenever you hear your phone bleep or ring from incoming messages, emails and calls, use them as mindfulness triggers to stay in the present moment. Realise the simplicity of the now and get out of your thinking mind for that brief moment.
Coming back to your natural state of being when you are using technology is possible with mindfulness. Don’t just let your digital devices distract you from life but instead allow them to become gentle guides that direct you towards a life where you can live in the present moment.