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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!  

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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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Overload Isn’t the Only Problem with Information

We often hear that “information overload” is a problem of our times.  We receive “too much information” and, as a result, we are overwhelmed, anxious, and distracted.

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Smiling Practice at a Legal Conference

This weekend I am attending a legal conference with 10,000 intellectual property attorneys from nearly every country in the world.  It is a great opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and to begin to form new relationships.

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“Hack Your Mind” Series on Mindfulness and Technology at MIT

I have had the pleasure and privilege to take part in organizing a series of events on science, technology, and mindfulness at MIT under the banner of “Hack Your Mind.”  The series was organized by Radius (formerly the Technology and Culture Forum) in partnership with Community Wellness at MIT.

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Nattch Offers a Social Networking System with Reduced Distractions

Nattch is an online social networking system that only allows users to post updates about their actual lives–no links to other information on the Internet allowed.  The goal is to limit posts to information about users themselves, and to eliminate the clutter and temptation of links to external–and usually irrelevant–information.

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Too Bad Law Firm’s Mindful Email Policy Was Just an April Fool’s Joke

The law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges sent an email to its employees on April 1 stating that electronic messages would not be transmitted by the firm’s servers late at night or be delivered to employees while on vacation.  Seems like a reasonable and respectful way to counter the constant need for connectivity among professionals, in an effort to reduce stress and improve health and well-being, right?

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Why is Facebook like Crack? How technology sucks us in and how mindfulness can help us step out

Judson Brewer, MD PhD, Director of Research at the Center for Mindfulness, will be giving a presentation at MIT on Friday April 17, from 12pm-1pm in Room 66-144 on how mindfulness can help break us out of addictive patterns in connection with Internet use.  See full details below.  Sponsored by MIT Radius.

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David Levy Teaches Course on “Information and Contemplation”

University of Washington Professor David Levy teaches a course entitled, “Information and Contemplation,” in which he guides students through mind-training exercises, such as engaging in only one digital task at a time, to raise students’ awareness about how they use computer technology.  He also begins each session with a short meditation.  Read more about it at The Chronicle of Higher Education.

 

Mexican Resort Introduces Digital Detox Program

The Grand Velas Resorts in Mexico have introduced a “Digital Detox” program.  If you sign up for the program, a “Detox Concierge” will cleanse your suite of digital distractions upon your arrival, such as by removing the flat screen television from the room, replacing it with classic board games, and taking your personal electronic devices from you and storing them in a safe. I was interested to hear Sharon Brody’s commentary about the program on NPR this morning, which the NPR web site entitles, “Digital Detox Vacation: For Those Who Have Everything–Except Willpower.” 

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Attention as a Resource

Matthew B. Crawford has an interesting piece in the New York Times suggesting that we view our attention as a resource and recognize that “a person has only so much of it.”  “What if we saw attention in the same way that we saw air or water, as a valuable resource that we hold in common? Perhaps, if we could envision an “attentional commons,” then we could figure out how to protect it.”

 

Welcome to Technology for Mindfulness

Welcome to Technology for Mindfulness, where we explore the ways in which technology can both promote and impede mindfulness—with an emphasis on the former. We examine the relationship between technology and mindfulness by reviewing products, revealing research, and posting musings.

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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.

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