The concept of mindful technology is edging its way into the mainstream as more and more people want to break free of unhealthy digital habits.
Pete Dunlap, Founder of Digital Detangler, is poised to help with this uniquely modern problem. He empowers individuals, schools, and businesses to transform their digital environments for greater well-being.
Robert Plotkin recently interviewed Pete on the Technology for Mindfulness podcast to learn how he became the Digital Detangler and what individuals can do to take control of their own technology use.
Continue reading How to Manage Your Digital Environment – 6 Practical Ideas from Pete Dunlap
After all, it offers instant relief. And weâ€™re only human.
If you want to break this reflex and empower yourself when it comes to technology, youâ€™re in the right place. In todayâ€™s blog, we begin with inspiration.
Weâ€™ve gathered 25 mindfulness quotes to help you remember why itâ€™s so important to accept the present, embrace your feelings, and welcome the gifts that mindfulness offers us. Continue reading 25 Mindfulness Quotes to Help You Hit the Pause Button
Continue reading 10 Best Mindfulness Meditation Apps to Manage the Craziness of Daily Life
Whether youâ€™re a writer, an artist, or simply trying to figure out a creative solution to a difficult problem, thereâ€™s one thing standing in your way. One thing that would have never been a problem 15 years ago! Just one little thing thatâ€™s blocking your way to thinking more creatively. What is it? Technology, of course.
Like weâ€™ve discussed before, boredom has its benefits. But with technology around, weâ€™re never truly bored or alone!
Continue reading Technology May Be the Reason Youâ€™ve Lost That Creative Spark
In our busy lives, weâ€™re always going, weâ€™re always doing, and weâ€™re always helping others. So where does this leave time for taking care of ourselves? For most of us, self-care falls on the back burner. Weâ€™re burning ourselves out by always helping others, which actually isnâ€™t helping anyoneâ€”especially yourself.
Continue reading How to Take Care of Yourself, Even During The Busiest Days
Weâ€™ve seen hilarious videos and stories of the problems smartphone distraction can causeâ€”I mean, hilarious for us, rather embarrassing for them. Things like running into (and falling into) a water fountain in the middle of a city, or walking straight into a construction zone, both while staring at the phone screen. How are we so enthralled by our phones? How do we allow them to distract us so much? And what else are we missing out on if weâ€™re missing these blatantly obvious obstacles in front of us?
Continue reading Put Down Your Smartphone and Allow Yourself to â€œSpace Outâ€
When you pick up your phone, how often are you using it to actually do what it was first intended for? How often are you actually talking on the phone? And I donâ€™t mean talking via text, or email, or some other form of digital communication. I mean actually talking. Picking up the phone and calling someone.
If youâ€™re like most people today, your answer is probably something like â€œvery rarely.â€
Continue reading The Case For Adding â€œCall Meâ€ Back To Your Vocabulary
Most people regularly (or at least semi-regularly) go through their stuff and declutter. We donate old clothes, we throw away broken items around the house, we host yard sales to sell off those things that we no longer want or need. It can feel cleansed and refreshing! So why should our digital clutter be any different?
Plus, eliminating digital clutter can have another benefit: reduced anxiety.
With everyone online account you have, with every device you own, your cyber security decreases. Itâ€™s great that youâ€™re watching out for phishing and got strong, unique passwords on all your accounts, but whatâ€™s even more helpful to your cyber securityâ€”and your peace of mindâ€”is cleaning things up!
We all know that each generation has different experiences, they grow up in a different time, so itâ€™s impossible not to! But is the latest generation, generation Z, missing out? Has their generation been destroyed by technology? Weâ€™ve all see the articles online saying things like â€œMillennials are killing fabric softenerâ€ or â€œMillennials are running the wine industry,â€ but what about the generation after them? The generation that is now beginning to reach early adulthood?
Generally, from generation-to-generation characteristics will change gradually. But Jean Twenge, a Psychology professor at San Diego State University, who has been studying the changes among generations for years, noticed a huge shift in the Z generation.
With the price of healthcare today, many individuals and professionals are looking for ways to shorten treatment lengths and lower costs. The answer to this may be a simple thing called gratitude. There have been multiple studies done on the physical, psychological, and social benefits of gratitude, all of which come to the same conclusion: gratitude can lead to a healthier and happier quality of life. So, letâ€™s break down some of the reasons for practicing gratitude.
Mark Bauerlein earned his doctorate in English at UCLA in 1988 & has taught at Emory since 1989, with a two-and-a-half year break in 2003-05 to serve as the Director, Office of Research & Analysis, at the National Endowment for the Arts. Apart from his scholarly work, he publishes in popular periodicals such as The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, TLS, and Chronicle of Higher Education. His latest book, “The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don ‘t Trust Anyone Under 30)“, is available for purchase online.
If youâ€™re like most people, in the past youâ€™ve probably thought something along the lines of â€œwow, Iâ€™ve been so busy all day, but what did I accomplish?â€ Right? So we all know that thereâ€™s definitely a difference between being busy and being productive. In fact, many of us are just doing too muchâ€”we arenâ€™t focusing finishing on one individual task. Instead, weâ€™re doing many things at once and not finishing any of them!
We need to keep up and keep going is driving people to doÂ more, but actually liveÂ with less.
For the past eight years, Emmy-nominated filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, her husband & two children have embraced “Technology Shabbat”, a modernized version of the Jewish day of rest, where they break away from digital screens & other technology for 24 hours. Shlain joins hostÂ RobertÂ Plotkin to discuss how “Technology Shabbat” works & doesn’t prevent her & her husband from embracing technology in their everyday lives. Tiffany Shlain is an American filmmaker, author, & public speaker regarded as an internet pioneer for her work, including founding the Webby Awards, co-founding the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences & running the Moxie Institute Film Studio & Lab. She lives in Northern California with husband Goldberg whom she frequently collaborates with on art installations & other projects. Find more info on Tiffany Shlain’s “Technology Shabbat” atÂ http://www.moxieinstitute.org/
How much time do you spend on your phone each day? I bet itâ€™s probably more than youâ€™d expect! According to a new study, U.S. consumers spend an average of 5 hours per day on their phones. That means that about â…“ of your time awake is spent staring at a phone screen. If you ask me, thatâ€™s a lot of time wasted. And nearly 20% of that time is being spent on Facebookâ€”FOMO, anyone?
I know Iâ€™ve talked about this so many times before, but let me say it again for those of you that are new to the blog or new to mindfulness: technology is taking over our minds.
Whether we realize it or not itâ€™s happening. And a movement that goes by the name of Time Well Spent it looking that help change that! Fighting back against digital distraction. Asking technology companies to create app designs that â€œempower us and reduce pollution to our attention.â€
Join author Sherry Turkle, the Abby Rockefeller MauzÃ© Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT, and the founder (2001) and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self on April 19th to learn more about the effect of technology on solitude.Â
This event is organized by MIT Radius, where Technology for Mindfulness’s own Robert Plotkin isÂ a member of the Steering Committee.
More about this week’s event here.
Youâ€™re about to start cooking dinner when you have a question about the recipeâ€¦ what can you substitute for tarragon? So you pull out your phone to type your question into Google. But what happens first? You see a new text message, notifications from 3 different appsâ€¦ By the time youâ€™ve finished checking everything out youâ€™ve completely forgotten why you originally grabbed your phone in the first place.
Does that sound like something thatâ€™s happened to you? Itâ€™s probably happened to most of us!
We all want to be more present, whether itâ€™s for our kids, or significant other, or just ourselves, right? And we all want to be happier, no matter how happy or unhappy you are, we crave that feeling of happiness.
But why is so hard to just be happy? What makes it so difficult to live in the present moment?
The answer to those two questions will be different for everyone. It might be that youâ€™re worried about the future, or youâ€™re dwelling on something in the past. No matter what, we all have an opportunity to try to live happier and more present lifeâ€”it just might take some effort.
You donâ€™t have control over what others do, but you do have control over your own thoughts and emotions. Reassurance is great, but you donâ€™t always need the approval of others for you to feel happy. Step outside of your own mind for a moment. Remind yourself to be present and give yourself a bit of encouragement! The only person that will always be there for you, is you.
Social media, tv, radio. Yes, it is important to know whatâ€™s going on in the world, but itâ€™s also important to know whatâ€™s going on within yourself and in your life. Social media can be a great way to help you keep in touch with others, but too much if it can make you feel disconnected. Be mindful of the way you use it.
Take a break from the media, hang out with your friend (in the real world, not online!), read a book. Do something that will allow you to live in the here and now.
A great way to motivate yourself and get your priorities straight is by listing your goals. But, at the same time, it can be easy to focus too much on those goals. So what should you do, throw away your list or at least stash it away somewhere that you wonâ€™t be seeing it constantly.
By identifying your goals, then letting them go, theyâ€™re staying in the future, where theyâ€™re meant to be. This allows you to stay in the present and work toward those future goals naturally.
Remind yourself of everything you have to be thankful for each dayâ€”maybe even multiple times a day! Doing this 1 simple thing can work wonders for reducing anxiety and stress.
In theory, itâ€™s not hard to be present and learn to be happier. But in practice, it takes time and effort to train our minds to live in the now.
Technology is such an integral part of our lives, and as technology evolves and becomes more useful, it also becomes more manipulative and addictive. And the things is, the creators of these technologies know thatâ€”they design their websites or apps to work in this way. Sometimes they do it unknowingly, but more often than not itâ€™s something thatâ€™s purposely built into the design.
If weâ€™re not mindful about how weâ€™re using many of the technologies that are so prevalent in our lives, then it can be easy to let it control us.
Today children are exposed to screens of all sorts from an early age: TV screens, phone screens, tablet screens, etc. A huge change from the times when the most screen-time children got was watching Saturday morning cartoons. Today we have 24/7 cartoon channels, games on phones, tablets, computers, and even devices made specifically for children. As much as weâ€™d love for our children to get outside and play as often as we did, or sit down with a pile of building blocks and create their own entertainment for hours-on-end, that just isnâ€™t the reality of today any longer. So what does this shift to more screen time mean for young developing minds?
We all have had those times when weâ€™re feeling a little crunched for time, we have so much to do, but so little timeâ€¦ but what if someone told you that you could get more done in less time? That would be impossible right? Not according to Cal Newportâ€™s idea of â€œdeep work.â€
Distraction isnâ€™t something new, throughout history humans have always been faced with distraction, but today it seems as though distraction has become a bigger issue. But why is that? A large part of it is due to technology, something thatâ€™s supposed to make our lives easierâ€”and often times succeedsâ€”also has the ability to make life harder by being such a huge distractor in our everyday lives.
When a notification pops up on your phone (a feature thatâ€™s supposed to be helpful) while youâ€™re in the middle of an important task, or even in the middle of a family dinner, do you check it? If youâ€™re like most people, then the answer is probably yes, even if for just a moment.
Receiving 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.Â 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.Â 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.
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 feeling as writing and reading handwritten letters.Â 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.Â The people I sent email messages to were few and far between, and they also had relatively infrequent access to an email-enabled computer.Â 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.Â 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.
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.Â 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.
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.Â 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.Â Some good examples are:
I can’t count how many times I have heard the following responses to a complaint about how technology can distract us:
Are you the type of person thatâ€™s constantly doing more than one thing? Do you regularly eat while youâ€™re working? Do you check your emails, social media notifications, and look at news in the morning while youâ€™re getting ready for the day? Youâ€™re not alone, most of us multitask, and many of us think weâ€™re pretty good at it, but most of us have no idea what multitasking is doing to us.
Is mindfulness, living in the here and now, really everything that people expect? With a little time and practice it can be.
It doesnâ€™t matter what your reason was for getting into mindfulness in the first place, becoming more mindful could change you in ways youâ€™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.
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 â€œbrain breaksâ€ throughout the school day to improve performance in the class.
Meditation is simple technique that anyone can use to help find calm, clarity, and relaxation during stressful times. Practicing meditation has countless benefitsâ€”both mental and physical. By practicing meditation just 20 minutes a day (they donâ€™t even have to be 20 consecutive minutes) youâ€™ll start seeing the benefits of this mindful practice. Try starting out with these 3 meditation techniques:
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 theyâ€™re doing. In other words, many of us operate on autopilot.
Morning rituals are an important part of many peopleâ€™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.
Youâ€™re sitting at work with what feels like 10 million things to do before the day is over and youâ€™re starting to feel the stress buildâ€¦ sound familiar? You need to relax, but at the same time, if you stop to relax, that means less time youâ€™ll have to work on everythingâ€”itâ€™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?
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.Â There has been a boom in mindfulness apps over the last year or two, which makes this an exciting time to give the presentation.
Do 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? Â Fortunately there are a variety of ways to configure your devices to limit when, where, and how they interrupt you.
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.