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Taking Control of Notifications to Take Back Your Attention

notificationsReceiving a reminder of an upcoming meeting or task from our smartphones can be a great way to remember to be somewhere to get something done on time.  All too often, however, our smartphones beep, flash, and vibrate at us every few minutes to provide us with information we don’t really need.  And we know that regaining our attention after such a distraction can take ten minutes or more, particularly if we were engaged in deep thought when interrupted.

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A Preemptive Strike in the Battle Against Messaging Fatigue

Do you feel like you spend more of your day responding to messages than living?  Do you need to turn off your smartphone at work and A Preemptive Strike in the Battle Against Messaging Fatiguehide in a closet just to get “real” work done?  If so, you may be suffering from messaging fatigue.

One source of this ailment is the need–whether perceived or real–to respond immediately to messages we receive. We feel that if someone sends us a message and we don’t respond immediately, something horrible will happen–we’ll lose a customer, damage a friendship, miss out on an opportunity.

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Making Email Slow Again

When I first began to use email in earnest, while a student at MIT in the early 1990s, writing and reading emails had much the same email-iconfeeling as writing and reading handwritten letters.  By far the easiest way to write an email was to go to one of a small number of computer clusters on campus and log in to a computer terminal.  The people I sent email messages to were few and far between, and they also had relatively infrequent access to an email-enabled computer.  So if you sent an email to someone, you expected that they might not read it and respond for at least a few days, if not much longer.  All of this encouraged the writing of messages that were relatively long and that provided information that could be quite out of date, much like a handwritten letter.

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Set Your Intention, See Your Intention

Set Your Intention, See Your IntentionSetting a clear intention is one of the most important parts of mindfulness practice.  At the beginning of the day you might set an intention to act respectfully towards everyone you interact with, to be grateful for what you have, or to exhibit generosity.

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A Technological Trick for Avoiding Mindless Meetings

mindless meetings

A good meeting can energize people, refocus a team, and strengthen interpersonal connections.  A bad meeting can suck the energy out of a room and leave everyone feeling frustrated and exhausted.  No wonder that corporate meetings are the bane of office workers and are an endless source of humor for comedians and sitcom writers.

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Take a Break to Stay Focused

stay foucsed

The workaholics among us (I can count myself in that group too much of the time) often feel that taking a break is a sign of weakness, or at least will reduce our productivity.  In reality, and perhaps counter intuitively, taking breaks can help you to rejuvenate and regain your focus, and thereby increase your overall effectiveness and productivity, whether the work you are doing is physical, mental, or a combination of both.

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Protecting Yourself Against Yourself: Blocking Apps for Focus

screenshot focus

Although we’d all like to have such a high degree of self-control that we don’t need any external aids to keep ourselves focused and present when using technology, in practice we can all use a little help.  There are a variety of apps you can use to resist technological temptation by making it impossible (or at least very difficult) to succumb to that temptation.  Some good examples are:

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Humana and eMindful – More Than Just Health Insurance

Humana and eMindful - More Than Just Health Insurance

Have you ever been at work feeling tired and unfocused, like you’re not accomplishing anything? Most of us feel like this at some point throughout the workweek. One survey has shown that 31% of people waste at least 30 minutes each workday and another 31% waste an entire hour feeling unproductive. One way to combat wasted time is by practicing mindfulness at work.

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5 Steps to Shut Down your Negative Thinking for Good

5 Steps to Shut Down your Negative Thinking for Good

Whether it’s because of genetics, experiences, or simply poor coping skills, most of us have a hard time controlling our negative thoughts—we’re more focused on the negatives in our lives than the positives. We previously discussed mindfully rewiring your brain to love yourself, but with a little more awareness we can also stop our thoughts from taking us down the path of self-doubt at all.

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Technological Distractions are a Bug, Not a Feature

Technological Distractions are a Bug, Not a Feature

I can’t count how many times I have heard the following responses to a complaint about how technology can distract us:

  • “You can’t turn back the clock.”
  • “If you find it distracting, just turn it off.”
  • “It’s the price we pay for the benefits of technology.”

Continue reading Technological Distractions are a Bug, Not a Feature

Stop Multitasking, It’s Wearing You Down!

Stop Multitasking, It’s Wearing You Down!

Are you the type of person that’s constantly doing more than one thing? Do you regularly eat while you’re working? Do you check your emails, social media notifications, and look at news in the morning while you’re getting ready for the day? You’re not alone, most of us multitask, and many of us think we’re pretty good at it, but most of us have no idea what multitasking is doing to us.

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Pokemon Go: Does “Augmented Reality” Augment Reality?

pokemon-go

The term “augmented reality” refers to technologies — like Pokemon Go — that superimpose characters and other objects on images of the real world.

But does “augmented reality” necessarily augment reality?  The term “augment” connotes an improvement, not just an addition.  Just consider that in the last few weeks Pokemon Go has been reported to:

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If You Can’t Change it, Learn to Mindfully Accept it

If You Can’t Change it, Learn to Mindfully Accept it

When something bad happens to you it can be easy to ask “Why me?”, these type of thoughts can consume us, but they don’t have to. A bit of good can always come out of bad situations, especially if we’re mindful about how we treat our experiences. So what can we do when we find ourselves in this type of situation? We navigate through them and keep looking to the future.

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Your Career Anxiety Is All In Your Head

Your Career Anxiety is All in Your Head

Have you ever heard the saying “confidence comes from within?” When you begin to practice mindfulness, you learn that that phrase is very true! It doesn’t take accomplishments and a vast knowledge of everything in your career for you to feel confident at work—it just takes a little mindfulness.

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The 3 Greatest Lessons Only You Can Teach Yourself

The 3 Greatest Lessons Only You Can Teach Yourself

Throughout our lives we’re taught so much at school, from our parents and other family members, through our friends, but one thing that must be self-taught is mindfulness. No one teaches us how to be mindful, although some schools are making an effort to bring mindfulness and yoga to the classroom, it’s really something we must personally dedicate ourselves to in order to really benefit from.

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Meditation: The Newest Employee Benefit

Meditation: The Newest Employee Benefit

Forget about hip cafés in the office, company cars, and gym memberships, the best company perk might be something a little simpler. As meditation increases in popularity, many employers are taking notice and hopping on board by offering free mindfulness and meditation classes to their employees.

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Is Living in the Here-and- Now Everything You Expected?

Is Living in the Here-and-Now Everything You Expected?

Is mindfulness, living in the here and now, really everything that people expect? With a little time and practice it can be.

It doesn’t matter what your reason was for getting into mindfulness in the first place, becoming more mindful could change you in ways you’ve never even considered. Many people begin their journey into mindfulness to help reduce stress and anxiety. It starts with short mediation sessions and grows into a way of life.

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Could Mindfulness be the Solution to Opioid Addiction?

Could Mindfulness be the Solution to Opioid Addiction?

Opioid addiction and overdose has been a growing epidemic, not only in the US, but around the world. It’s estimated that between 26.4 and 23 million people worldwide have an opioid abuse problem. For the many of these people the problem isn’t that they’re using the drugs to get high—often times they begin using these medications to relieve chronic pain, but as their tolerance grows, they become addicted.

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Learn to be Mindful But Don’t Let it Become a To-Do

Learn to be Mindful But Don’t Let it Become a To-Do

Is mindfulness something that comes naturally to you? Do you act and think mindfully without any thought or effort? Or is mindfulness just another task on your to-do list?

Mindfulness is a wonderful practice, with the variety of ways it can change our lives there’s no wonder that it’s gaining so much interest in today’s society. But if you’re trying to become more mindful by forcing yourself to participate in mindful activities, like meditation, then is it really helping? You might not want to hear it, but the honest truth is that if you fake mindfulness, it just doesn’t work.

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amaZEN U: An Amazing Way to Bring Yoga to Schools

 

amaZEN U: An Amazing Way to Bring Yoga to Schools

Yoga in schools is something that has been a controversial topic since it was introduced in public schools years ago. Having roots in Hinduism there has been the question of whether yoga is a religious practice, and thus violating the separation between church and state.

Some argue that the religious association of yoga means it does not belong in schools; others, like amaZEN U, see yoga as a way to teach mindfulness, empathy, improve focus, and take “brain breaks” throughout the school day to improve performance in the class.

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3 Quick & Simple Meditation Techniques to Practice Each Day

 

3 Quick & Simple Meditation Techniques to Practice Each Day

Meditation is simple technique that anyone can use to help find calm, clarity, and relaxation during stressful times. Practicing meditation has countless benefits—both mental and physical. By practicing meditation just 20 minutes a day (they don’t even have to be 20 consecutive minutes) you’ll start seeing the benefits of this mindful practice. Try starting out with these 3 meditation techniques:

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Dealing with Presidential-Sized Stress

Dealing with Presidential-Sized Stress

 

Although the presidential election is still months away and the 2 parties have yet to choose their nominee, the election is clearly in full swing, and has been for a while! The busy schedules of the candidates, constant public appearances, and tough questions can be described as one thing: stressful.

So how is it possible to stay calm and grounded when you barely have a minute to yourself? For Hilary Clinton the answer to all that stress is meditation!

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6 Ways Mindfulness Can Change Us

 

mindfulness changes

If there’s one thing that I could confidently say can impact every single aspect of our lives (work, health, relationships, etc.) its mindfulness, but in our crazy lives mindfulness can be lost.

Being more mindful can affect multiple aspects of our lives. Whatever you’re putting your energy into doing right now could be affected, and improved, with a little bit of thoughtfulness.

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Wiring your Brain to Love Yourself

 

Love Yourself  heart picture

Happiness is something that anyone can create for himself or herself—we can mindfully wire our brains to be happier and love ourselves. If you’ve ever learned about Pavlov’s dogs (which I’m sure we all have), then you understand the power of the brain and what “re-wiring” can do to the mind.

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A World of Difference: The Benefits of Meditation

 

benefits of mindfulness

The benefits of mindfulness and meditation have been proven time and time again, especially for it’s ability to help leave stress behind. The benefits of meditation are almost countless, although Live and Air did a pretty great job of listing a good chunk of them—76 benefits of meditation, to be exact!

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Learn to Practice Mindfulness at Work

Learn to Practice Mindfulness at Work

Do you ever feel aimless and unfocused at work? Do you leave the office at the end of the day feeling like you got nothing accomplished? If so, you are not alone. New research shows that people spend almost 47 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing. In other words, many of us operate on autopilot.

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What’s Worthy of Your Time?

 

What’s Worthy of Your Time?

In two of our recent blogs we talked about distraction and the theories behind why we as a society are so distracted—the two oldest theories, and one new theory—but how can we combat distraction?

Continue reading What’s Worthy of Your Time?

Make Each Evening Worth Remembering

 

Make Each Evening Worth Remembering

Morning rituals are an important part of many people’s daily routines, but have you ever thought about evening rituals? Evening rituals can help to put us in a better, happier place at the end of the day and allow us to have a positive memory of the day.

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The Third Theory of Distraction: Is There a Solution?

The Third Theory of Distraction: Is There a Solution?

In our previous post Two Theories of Distraction: Is it Becoming a Bigger Issue?, we talked about the two oldest and biggest theories of distraction: spiritual and material distraction. But there’s a new theory of distraction that’s been brought to light by Matthew Crawford in his new book “The World Beyond Your Head: Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction.”

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Two Theories of Distraction: Is it Becoming a Bigger Issue?

Two Theories of Distraction: Is it Becoming a Bigger Issue?

Distraction, it’s something that happens to all of us in today’s modern society. It can be enjoyable at times (scrolling though Facebook while waiting for a flight), but it can also lead to some terrible situations (scrolling though Facebook while driving).

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Could the Internet be Making us Dumber?

 

Could the Internet be Making us Dumber?

Is the internet giving us a false sense of knowledge? That’s what three Yale psychologists set out to find in a very interesting study.

This study conducted by Matthew Fisher, Mariel K. Goddu, and Frank C. Keil has shown that simple researching on the internet can inflate one’s estimate of their own internal knowledge. This phenomenon isn’t related to any particular subject and can even transfer into other, un-related subjects!

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Pause, and Just Relax with Help From Your Phone

Pause, and Just Relax with Help From Your Phone

You’re sitting at work with what feels like 10 million things to do before the day is over and you’re starting to feel the stress build… sound familiar? You need to relax, but at the same time, if you stop to relax, that means less time you’ll have to work on everything—it’s truly a dilemma. What if the solution to your problem was sitting right beside you? What if your phone could give you that short stress-relieving break you need without wasting too much of your time?

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Shutdown Rituals: Leave The Work Stress at Work

 

Shutdown Rituals: Leave The Work Stress at Work

We hate to admit it, but nearly all of us take work home with us, it can be hard to just pack up and the end of the day and leave everything at the office. Whether we literally take home things to do after leaving work, or mentally take work problems home, it happens. Unless your job requires it—leave work stress in the office!

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Wisdom Films for the Modern Age

Wisdom Films for the Modern Age

I just attended a session at Wisdom 2.0 called, “Wisdom Films for the Modern Age.”  We may not think about film as a form of technology anymore because we are so familiar with it, but film and the various mechanisms for distributing it are technologies that act as amplifiers.

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The Future of Transformation: How Can Technology Assist Awakening Wisdom?

 

The Future of Transformation: How Can Technology Assist Awakening Wisdom? by Robert Plotkin

This morning I attended a session at Wisdom 2.0 entitled, “The Future of Transformation: How Can Technology Assist Awakening Wisdom?”  Here’s some highlights.

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Time to Vote for Technology For Mindfulness on the Wisdom 2.0 “People’s Stage”

We have an exciting update to share. I am applying to appear on “The People’s Stage” at the upcoming Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco this February. Check out my one-minute video contest entry.

 

There are about 100 entrants, but only four will be selected to appear on stage. Help me become one of them by casting your vote!

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Review: stickK – How mindful technology can help you achieve your goals

How often do you set a goal that you don’t stick to? Ever forget to follow through on a new years resolution? We’ve all done it. Most of us have done it when it comes to losing weight. We say we’re going to do it, but somewhere after week one we trail off. This is exactly what stickK looks to resolve.

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Mindful Gratitude

grateful

 

In keeping with the holiday season, today’s post is a simple reminder to set an intention to be grateful. If I were to represent the topics of my thoughts over the course of a day as a pie chart, the biggest slice usually represents things to do, with a tiny sliver dedicated to things to be thankful for. Furthermore, thoughts and feelings of gratitude often come and go fleetingly, without my mind resting on them and giving them the attention and focus they deserve.

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Presentation on Apps for Focus and Mindfulness at MIT

MIT Radius Mindful Group

 

I will be giving a presentation tomorrow (Tuesday, November 17) on apps that can help to promote focus and mindfulness at MIT (Room 4-270), as part of the Radius “Hack Your Mind” program.  There has been a boom in mindfulness apps over the last year or two, which makes this an exciting time to give the presentation.

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Series: What Mindfulness Means to Me, Trish Weinmann

In an effort to share a range of perspectives on the meaning of mindfulness and to facilitate a discussion about this important topic, we are posting a series of short essays by different contributors on “What Mindfulness Means to Me.” Below is a blog post by Trish Weinmann.

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Series: What Mindfulness Means to Me, Sang H. Kim

In an effort to share a range of perspectives on the meaning of mindfulness and to facilitate a discussion about this important topic, we are posting a series of short essays by different contributors on “What Mindfulness Means to Me.” Below is an essay by Sang H. Kim.  

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Mindful Technology Tip: How to Control Interruptions

Distraction technologyDo you find it hard to remain focused and mindful in the face of a constant barrage of interruptions from your devices: smartphone ringing, email notifications blinking, text messages chirping?  Fortunately there are a variety of ways to configure your devices to limit when, where, and how they interrupt you.

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Review: Focus@Will Uses Music to Help You Stay Mindful

Focus@Willmindful technology  is a web site that plays music designed to increase the amount of time you can stay focused.  I started using the site a few years ago, after seeing two of the site’s founders, Will Henshall and Dr. Evian Gordon, give a presentation about the site at one of the Wisdom 2.0 conferences.

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Guest Blog Posting on Everyday Mindfulness: Mindfulness Lessons from the Martial Arts

Guest Blog Posting on Everyday Mindfulness: Mindfulness Lessons from the Martial Arts

 

I’ve had the privilege of writing a guest blog posting on Everyday Mindfulness entitled, “Responding Not Reacting: Mindfulness Lessons From The Martial Arts.”  In it I describe some lessons I have learned about responding rather than reacting from my training in martial arts over the years.  In particular I thought it would be interesting to explore how an action can be a response even when it is immediate, in light of the fact that I often hear it said that responding is about pausing before taking action.

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Gmail Offers Anti-Mindlessness Insurance

Google Gmail recently finalized its “Undo Send” featureGmail, which enables you to recall an outgoing email up to ten seconds after you hit “Send” on it.  The feature works by delaying the sending of the email for ten seconds, so that if you hit “Undo Send,” the email will not be sent in the first place.

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Series: What Mindfulness Means to Me, Elizabeth Wood

In an effort to share a range of perspectives on the meaning of mindfulness and to facilitate a discussion about this important topic, we are posting a series of short essays by different contributors on “What Mindfulness Means to Me.” Below is a poem by Elizabeth Wood expressing what mindfulness means to her.

Continue reading Series: What Mindfulness Means to Me, Elizabeth Wood

Series: What Mindfulness Means to Me, Robert Plotkin

In an effort to share a range of perspectives on the meaning of mindfulness and to facilitate a discussion about this important topic, we are posting a series of short essays by different contributors on “What Mindfulness Means to Me.”  Below is our founder, Robert Plotkin’s view of what mindfulness means to him.

Continue reading Series: What Mindfulness Means to Me, Robert Plotkin

Electric Toothbrushes: A Tool for Mindfulness?

Electric Toothbrushes: A Tool for Mindfulness?

  I started using an electric toothbrush about a year ago after scoffing at them for many years. Now I love it. What I didn’t expect was that it would both provide some good mindfulness training and also encourage mindlessness.  Let me explain.

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Series: What Mindfulness Means to Me, Zan Barry

As the word “mindfulness” gains wider use and moves more into the mainstream, confusion can arise about what it means.  In addition, “mindfulness” means different things to different people.  In an effort to share a range of perspectives on the meaning of mindfulness and to facilitate a discussion about this important topic, we will be posting a series of short essays by different contributors on “What Mindfulness Means to Me.”  The piece below by Zan Barry is the first in the series.  Stay tuned for more!  

Continue reading Series: What Mindfulness Means to Me, Zan Barry

How to Vacation Mindfully

Phone on beach, mindful technology

 

It was easier to “get away from it all” on vacation before smartphones and the Internet. Our ever-present devices now blur the line between work and vacation, making it more important than ever that we be actively mindful on our vacations, lest our precious time away from work become little more than a week-long telecommute, leaving us feeling like we need a vacation to recover from our vacation.

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A Sneaky Way to Eliminate Technological Distractions at the Dinner Table

Have you ever sat down with your family for dinner, only to be faced with the glare of smartphones from everyone at the table?  If so, then Dolmio Australia claims to have a technological solution to the problem:

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iPad Update a Step Back for Mindfulness?

Apple recently announced that iOS 9 for the iPad will allow two apps to be displayed side-by-side simultaneously.  This feature, like every multitasking “improvement,” is being promoted as a way to enable users to be more productive, so why do I find myself feeling sad that Apple didn’t continue to hold the line against the “everything, everywhere, all-the-time, simultaneously” philosophy that consumes device and operating system design all too often?

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5 Tips for Using Technology More Mindfully

phone

 

We all complain about how technology distracts us and makes it harder to be mindful. Now is the time to stop moaning and take charge. Here are five tips for using technology to help you be more mindful.

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HeadSpace Review: Just Pause for 10 Minutes A Day

HeadSpace Review: Just Pause for 10 Minutes A Day

 

If you look up “meditate” you will most likely come across a definition similar to the one above. It’s funny because when I think of meditation, I think of the opposite of “thinking deeply.” I meditate to calm my mind and slow down.

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The average cellphone user touches their phone 2,617 times a day.

The average cellphone user touches their phone 2,617 times a day.

Sign up to receive a free, 5 minute guided meditation that helps you gain control over your smartphone, instead of being controlled by it. 

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