Stop what youâ€™re doing stand up for a moment and just breatheâ€¦ now pay attention to that breath. Follow it as it goes and your chest expands with each deep breath, feel the air flowing outward. Okay. Now how do you feel? If youâ€™re like most people, youâ€™re probably feeling more relaxed, more present, and more aware.
That was easy, right? But, as Dr. Danny Penman, author of The Art of Breathing, saysâ€¦ â€œThe hardest bit is remembering [to breathe].â€ Once you remember to breathe (and actually bring awareness to your breath) when you needed it the most youâ€™ll have the ability to calm yourself and think more clearlyâ€”the ability to live more mindfully.
Continue reading Mindful Breathing is an Art, One That Anyone Can Learn
The consensus is in, and meditation and tech experts across the board say that in 2017 is going to be the year that mindfulness and meditation take a huge leap into mainstream health.
People today know they need to watch their health, their eating healthier and working out, but what about mental health? While mindfulness and meditation have become more popular over the past few years (in large-part thanks to technology), itâ€™s not yet widely practiced. Some companies, like Humana, are trying to help change that.
Continue reading Whatâ€™s 2017 Looking Like for Mindfulness and Meditation?
Virtual realityâ€¦ another device to help us mindlessly waste time, play more games and watching more videos, right? While there are some experimental educational uses for VR such as virtual tours and potential medical uses, for the most part the general public (or the small portion of them that actually own a VR device) is using virtual reality for gaming and time-wasting activities.
Continue reading Virtual Reality Meditation: A New Way to Relax
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?
Continue reading Screen Time is Changing Young Brains, but Could it be Good?
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€
Continue reading Increase Your Productivity Every Day with Deep Work
The holidays can be some of the happiest times of the year for many people, but they can also be stressful and exhausting! Preparing the holiday dinner, prepping the house for guests, buying holiday gifts for the family and friendsâ€”sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. But what if we could eliminate some of that stress by making our Thanksgiving gatherings and the holiday season a little more mindful?
Continue reading Make Your Thanksgiving Gathering Mindful
In our fast-paced world, thereâ€™s one thing thatâ€™s starting to slow down: television. Have you ever dreamed of taking a long journey by train, but just couldnâ€™t afford to take the time off of work for such an adventure? Or maybe youâ€™d love to see the world by boat, but get a terrible sea sickness? Now, you can experience these things without leaving the comfort of your living room couch thanks to Slow TV.
Slow TV is newly popularized genre of television thatâ€™s gained popularity in Norway and has been brought to the United States with a little help from Netflix. Slow TV gets its name from the pace of the programming as well as the length; the longest broadcast on record is 136 hours (over 5.5 days), but most can last between 3-12 hours.
Continue reading Take a Break and Find Mindfulness with Slow TV
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.
Continue reading Digital Distraction is Changing Our Ever-Evolving Minds
We all want to eat healthier, right? But sometimes it can be hard; cravings Â happen, we over eatâ€”we arenâ€™t always aware of what weâ€™re putting in our bodies. How many times have you been craving sweets and mindlessly threw a candy bar in your cart while grocery shopping, or grabbed a handful of chips simply because you were bored and snacking gave you something to do?
Continue reading An Easy Way to Lose Weight? Eating Mindfully with Eat Right Now
The term “mindfulness” is often used hand in hand, or even synonymously, with “meditating,” and for good reason–mindfulness meditation is one of the most longstanding and widely-used techniques for practicing mindfulness.Â It isn’t, however, the only way.Â In Buddhist teaching it is said that there are 84,000 doors to enlightenment.Â Here I’ll mention just five:
Continue reading Five Ways to Practice Mindfulness Without Meditating
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.
Continue reading Taking Control of Notifications to Take Back Your Attention
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.
Continue reading Making Email Slow Again
Setting a clear intention is one of the most important parts of mindfulness practice.Â 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.
Continue reading Set Your Intention, See Your Intention
A good meeting can energize people, refocus a team, and strengthen interpersonal connections.Â A bad meeting can suck the energy out of a room and leave everyone feeling frustrated and exhausted.Â No wonder that corporate meetings are the bane of office workers and are an endless source of humor for comedians and sitcom writers.
Continue reading A Technological Trick for Avoiding Mindless Meetings
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.
Continue reading Take a Break to Stay Focused
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:
Continue reading Protecting Yourself Against Yourself: Blocking Apps for Focus
Have you ever been at work feeling tired and unfocused, like youâ€™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.
Continue reading Humana and eMindful – More Than Just Health Insurance
Whether itâ€™s because of genetics, experiences, or simply poor coping skills, most of us have a hard time controlling our negative thoughtsâ€”weâ€™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.
Continue reading 5 Steps to Shut Down your Negative Thinking for Good
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
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.
Continue reading Stop Multitasking, Itâ€™s Wearing You Down!
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?Â The term “augment” connotes an improvement, not just an addition.Â Just consider that in the last few weeks Pokemon Go has been reported to:
Continue reading Pokemon Go: Does “Augmented Reality” Augment Reality?
When something bad happens to you it can be easy to ask â€œWhy me?â€, these type of thoughts can consume us, but they donâ€™t have to. A bit of good can always come out of bad situations, especially if weâ€™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.
Continue reading If You Canâ€™t Change it, Learn to Mindfully Accept it
Have you ever heard the saying â€œconfidence comes from within?â€ When you begin to practice mindfulness, you learn that that phrase is very true! It doesnâ€™t take accomplishments and a vast knowledge of everything in your career for you to feel confident at workâ€”it just takes a little mindfulness.
Continue reading Your Career Anxiety Is All In Your Head
Throughout our lives weâ€™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, itâ€™s really something we must personally dedicate ourselves to in order to really benefit from.
Continue reading The 3 Greatest Lessons Only You Can Teach Yourself
Forget about hip cafÃ©s 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.
Continue reading Meditation: The Newest Employee Benefit
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.
Continue reading Is Living in the Here-and- Now Everything You Expected?
Opioid addiction and overdose has been a growing epidemic, not only in the US, but around the world. Itâ€™s estimated that between 26.4 and 23 million people worldwide have an opioid abuse problem. For the many of these people the problem isnâ€™t that theyâ€™re using the drugs to get highâ€”often times they begin using these medications to relieve chronic pain, but as their tolerance grows, they become addicted.
Continue reading Could Mindfulness be the Solution to Opioid Addiction?
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 thereâ€™s no wonder that itâ€™s gaining so much interest in todayâ€™s society. But if youâ€™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 doesnâ€™t work.
Continue reading Learn to be Mindful But Donâ€™t Let it Become a To-Do
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.
Continue reading amaZEN U: An Amazing Way to Bring Yoga to Schools
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:
Continue reading 3 Quick & Simple Meditation Techniques to Practice Each Day
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!
Continue reading Dealing with Presidential-Sized Stress
If thereâ€™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 youâ€™re putting your energy into doing right now could be affected, and improved, with a little bit of thoughtfulness.
Continue reading 6 Ways Mindfulness Can Change Us
Happiness is something that anyone can create for himself or herselfâ€”we can mindfully wire our brains to be happier and love ourselves. If youâ€™ve ever learned about Pavlovâ€™s dogs (which Iâ€™m sure we all have), then you understand the power of the brain and what â€œre-wiringâ€ can do to the mind.
Continue reading Wiring your Brain to Love Yourself
The benefits of mindfulness and meditation have been proven time and time again, especially for itâ€™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 themâ€”76 benefits of meditation, to be exact!
Continue reading A World of Difference: The Benefits of Meditation
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.
Continue reading Learn to Practice Mindfulness at Work
In two of our recent blogs we talked about distraction and the theories behind why we as a society are so distractedâ€”the two oldest theories, and one new theoryâ€”but how can we combat distraction?
Continue reading What’s Worthy of Your Time?
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.
Continue reading Make Each Evening Worth Remembering
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 thereâ€™s a new theory of distraction thatâ€™s been brought to light by Matthew Crawford in his new book â€œThe World Beyond Your Head: Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction.â€
Continue reading The Third Theory of Distraction: Is There a Solution?
Distraction, itâ€™s something that happens to all of us in todayâ€™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).
Continue reading Two Theories of Distraction: Is it Becoming a Bigger Issue?
Is the internet giving us a false sense of knowledge? Thatâ€™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 oneâ€™s estimate of their own internal knowledge. This phenomenon isnâ€™t related to any particular subject and can even transfer into other, un-related subjects!
Continue reading Could the Internet be Making us Dumber?
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?
Continue reading Pause, and Just Relax with Help From Your Phone
I just attended a session at Wisdom 2.0 called, “Wisdom Films for the Modern Age.”Â 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.
Continue reading Wisdom Films for the Modern Age
This morning I attended a session at Wisdom 2.0 entitled, “The Future of Transformation: How Can Technology Assist Awakening Wisdom?”Â Here’s some highlights.
Continue reading The Future of Transformation: How Can Technology Assist Awakening Wisdom?
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.
Continue reading Presentation on Apps for Focus and Mindfulness at MIT
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.
Continue reading Mindful Technology Tip: How to Control Interruptions
Focus@WillÂ is a web site that plays music designed to increase the amount of time you can stay focused. Â 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.
Continue reading Review: Focus@Will Uses Music to Help You Stay Mindful
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.
Continue reading 5 Tips for Using Technology More Mindfully