In our modern society, technology is often an obstacle to mindfulness. It’s so easy to reach for your smartphone when the pangs of loneliness, fear, or boredom appear. After all, it offers instant relief. And we’re only human. If you want to break this reflex and empower yourself when it comes to technology, you’re in the right place. In today’s blog, we begin with inspiration. We’ve gathered 25 mindfulness quotes to help you remember why it’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
Finding yourself consistently distracted by your Smartphone? In this 1 hour workshop, join Robert Plotkin, founder of Technology For Mindfulness and get the tools you need to gain back control in 2019. Click here for tickets
People can engage with technology in a wide variety of ways while exercising. Some people put their devices away entirely so that they are not distracted by them, so that they can be fully in touch with their body, or both. Others find that they can only stay focused on exercise while listening to music or watching a video, television, etc. Some people like to talk on the phone with a friend while working out. Continue reading How Technology Can Help You Exercise More Mindfully
Do you find that it’s hard to turn your work mind off even after you stop working? Is the “end of the work day” concept foreign to you because you keep your nose so close the grindstone? Many of us find ourselves in this situation — particularly with smartphones, laptops, and mobile internet enabling us to stay connected at all times.
Those of us who work from home can find it especially difficult to create boundaries between work and personal life. Here are some suggestions for doing just that.
1. Try to develop a regular work schedule.
This allows you to get into the habit of starting and stopping work at certain times of the day. It doesn’t have to be a traditional schedule. Just find what works for you. It can even include several different periods of work on different days. The key is doing your best to schedule certain regular times for starting and stopping work, creating a habit in your mind through repetition.
2. Develop starting and ending work habits/rituals.
These are certain actions that you perform and thoughts that you have to transition your mind into and out of work mode. They could be as simple as stopping and pausing for 5 or 10 seconds and thinking about what you’re going to transition into. You might say it out loud or in your mind to engage your focus. It could be something as simple as arranging things on your desk or simply starting work. No matter the tasks, these should help you make the mental transition to and from work.
Rituals are found in
several other traditions. For instance, when you walk into a Japanese martial arts school, you pause and bow at the threshold before entering. At the beginning of each class, there is also a bowing ceremony. I was always taught that one of this ritual’s purposes is to help us reach a more focused mental state.
These tips have something in common: They help to create and enforce mental boundaries between work time and non-work time. I think these boundaries have always existed, but it’s particularly important these days to intentionally create them because they’re missing in the way that many of us work. Technology makes information and communication available to us at all times and in all places.
Many of us can work without going into an office, with different people, and on different projects. Obviously, this situation suffers from a lack of boundaries.
If we want to have them in our lives, we have to create them ourselves through force of habit.
I have no natural sense of direction. As a result, I think the GPS is one of the greatest inventions in human history. I rely on the GPS on my phone to get me almost everywhere and appreciate it not only because of its obvious purpose but also because it reduces the stress of driving, walking, and traveling to new places. It gives me the confidence to go places on my own that I normally wouldn’t try to travel to without a GPS. At the same time, I’ve become aware of how overly reliant I’ve become on my GPS and how I tend to use it in a way that does not necessarily help me become engaged with, aware of, and attuned to my surroundings.
We all know that the image people portray of themselves on social media is highly selective and curated. People often post only the information that paints them in a positive light and makes them seem as interesting as possible. As a result, their social media lives don’t always reflect their full reality.
As mindfulness in the West is picking up and taking off as a popular movement, I’m getting the feeling that many people are being introduced to it as a purely intellectual and mental practice. After all, the word “mind” is in mindfulness.
Have you ever watched a tennis sequence in which a player serves and the receiver runs in reaction to the serve and then hits the ball back off balance? Throughout the exchange, the server stands firm and is seemingly dictating where and when the receiver moves.
Since I write and teach about using technology mindfully, many people assume that I’m somehow naturally gifted at that practice. They believe I’m always focused at work and never struggle with distractions when I should be doing something more productive. In fact, when I tell people about my work in this field, they get embarrassed and think I will look down on them because of how poorly or distractedly they use technology. Continue reading You Use Technology More Mindfully Than I Do
Do you ever feel like your smartphone is calling to you even when it’s just sitting in your pocket not doing anything? When your phone beeps, vibrates, or buzzes, do you ask yourself, “Why is my phone doing this to me?!?”
Whether you’re a writer, an artist, or simply trying to figure out a creative solution to a difficult problem, there’s one thing standing in your way. One thing that would have never been a problem 15 years ago! Just one little thing that’s blocking your way to thinking more creatively. What is it? Technology, of course.
We all struggle with anxiety once in awhile, but for some it can feel worse and more difficult to control. At times, it can feel nearly debilitating. Some turn to meditation, others visit psychiatrists despite their fears of the stigma it holds. But there’s another way to help you control your anxiety… no medication, no stigma, and you can do it from your phone! What is it?
Winter Feast is a 40 day Worldwide Spiritual Practice Period everyone is invited to join.
It’s for people of all faiths who take part in committing 40 minutes of spiritual practice each day for forty days. The intention behind Winter feast is to create peace in each individual’s life and to extend to others as well. Participants are also invited to practice daily acts of kindness. Although it may seem like only a small group of people setting out to do this, the impact of such an act can be much greater.
“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead
Winter Feast is from the morning of January 15th until February 23rd. As most of the Northern Hemisphere is deep in winter during this time, it’s a perfect way to begin the New Year to reconnect with spirit and bring our awareness to a new level.
“What nine months does for the embryo, forty early mornings will do for your growing awareness.” — Rumi
Typically, when we think about mindfulness, we think about avoiding technology—putting away our smartphones, taking a break from TV or computers. But really, technology and mindfulness aren’t so different. How? They’re both tools to help us solve problems and achieve certain objectives… one is just focused on external problems while the other focuses on the internal.
Mindfulness is a very broad term; there are so many aspects of mindfulness and so many different ways in which it can be practiced. With the rise in popularity of mindfulness, there have been more studies popping up about mindfulness and its benefits. One recent study set out to differentiate how different components of mindfulness impact us.
Today, people use their phones for a variety of different tasks and we’re using them all throughout the day! In fact, many people spend 5+ hours per day using their smartphones. And while technology can help us in countless ways, it’s not always the best thing for us. I mean, take a look at Generation Z, the generation that has grown up with technology, and you’ll see the changes it brings about in us as individuals!
We all feel gratitude sometimes, even if we’re not mindful enough to be aware of the feeling. And if we are aware of it, often times we forget or feel awkward expressing it. Feelings can be hard to talk about, even positive ones. But sometimes, that’s exactly what businesses need to improve! A great company isn’t all about the number, it’s about the employees as well.
If there were something that you could do for free, something that took less than a half hour per day, that was scientifically proven to boost energy and brainpower, would you do it? For most of us, that answer is a resounding YES! Unless it’s hard or takes a lot of effort…
Well, I have news—it exists. Honestly, it could take as little effort as sitting silently and focusing on your breath for 25 minutes.
We’ve talked before about using mindfulness at a personal level in the workplace to reduce stress. But you may have also heard the term “mindful company.” So what does it really mean to be a “mindful company”? This term has only started to gain popularity in recent years. In fact, many still question whether this is really possible or just a term brands like to toss around to sound more appealing to customers and employees.
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. It’s great that you’re watching out for phishing and got strong, unique passwords on all your accounts, but what’s even more helpful to your cyber security—and your peace of mind—is cleaning things up!
We all know that each generation has different experiences, they grow up in a different time, so it’s impossible not to! But is the latest generation, generation Z, missing out? Has their generation been destroyed by technology? We’ve all see the articles online saying things like “Millennials are killing fabric softener” or “Millennials are running the wine industry,” 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.
Robert Plotkin, co-founder of the “Hack Your Mind” series is pleased to invite you to the next event this Friday, October 6th at 12 pm on the campus of MIT.
Join us for the first program of the semester of ourHack Your Mindseries with Dr. Susan Gabrieli. Dr. Gabrieli is a neuroscientist and Senior Research Scientist for the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. Continue reading Mindfulness Event This Friday!
Work is a place that we can easily feel stressed and overwhelmed. Maybe you have multiple projects going at the same time or an impossibly short deadline that your boss wants you to meet. It’s happened to all of us at one point! The key to keeping calm under all this stress? Mindfulness.
When a workplace promotes mindfulness a few changes begin to happen. The entire company culture changes. The workplace begins to attract (and keep) the best employees. And performance within the company improves!
As we age our cognitive abilities tend to decline. We begin misplacing items more often (keys and glasses, anyone?), it becomes more difficult to solve problems, or we may have trouble remembering names. It’s all just a natural part of aging, right? Maybe it doesn’t have to be!
Research shows that the adult brain changes with experience and training. The healthier and more active your lifestyle, the better your cognitive performance will be as you age. But a healthy lifestyle isn’t limited to just diet and exercise, new research is finding that meditation may also be a key factor in maintaining brain health as we age!
When you were younger—before your first smartphone—do you remember ever being bored? If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking, “yeah, of course!” So what did you do when you got bored? Now, this answer is going to be immensely different for every single one of us, but the bottom line is: we entertained ourselves! And most of the time, this entertainment took a little creativity.
Well, now that smartphones have become such an integral part of our lives, boredom is virtually a thing of the past!
Years ago who would have ever imagined finding a date online? But then came dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony, and it took the effort out of meeting new people and dating. Today finding a date has become even more mindless with sites like Tinder where you simply swipe left or right to find a match and get a date. Now, though, as mindfulness is beginning to gain popularity, we seem to be reverting back to good ol’ conversation to find a date!
At MNDFL, a meditation studio in New York City, something’s starting to happen… people have started finding relationships offline, relationships based on common interests, not just physical appearance.
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, let’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.
Last week we talked about how and why we need to recover from tasks in our daily life and we covered, recovering from work and technology. I challenged you to take on both of these, did you try it? How did it go? Did you notice a difference in your stress or sleep?
Today we’re moving on to the other 4 areas of our lives that we need to learn to recover from: people, fitness, food, & being awake.
If you’re like most people, in the past you’ve probably thought something along the lines of “wow, I’ve been so busy all day, but what did I accomplish?” Right? So we all know that there’s definitely a difference between being busy and being productive. In fact, many of us are just doing too much—we aren’t focusing finishing on one individual task. Instead, we’re doing many things at once and not finishing any of them!
We need to keep up and keep going is driving people to do more, but actually live with less.
Neil Seligman is the Founder of The Conscious Professional, the Author of 100 Mindfulness Meditations and one of the UK’s leading experts in Corporate Mindfulness, Wellbeing and Professional Resilience.
In this episode Neil discusses about his work at The Conscious Professional and what his mission and goal is. According to Neil his practice brings skills of mindfulness to professionals. His vision is enlightened executives and conscious businesses. Neil links mindfulness to professional excellence, and his vision is to find the missing link in many professionals who are not able to express themselves in the exterior reality. The internal world is the key to emotional intelligence and we have to find peace within ourselves.
Life moving too fast? Let expert Robert Plotkin teach you 3 simple mindfulness techniques to help you regain focus, better understand how technology affects your daily life, and take concrete steps towards improved mindfulness. Don’t miss out on this exclusive event on August 15th or 17th!
Register for August 15th at 7 pm Eastern webinar here:
How much time do you spend on your phone each day? I bet it’s probably more than you’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 ⅓ of your time awake is spent staring at a phone screen. If you ask me, that’s a lot of time wasted. And nearly 20% of that time is being spent on Facebook—FOMO, anyone?
Our smartphones are constantly dinging and ringing, alerting us of notifications all day long. And don’t get me started on how much time we waste looking at all of these (mostly unimportant) notifications. Sometimes it can make smartphones feel more stressful and annoying than a helpful tool. Does anyone else just slightly miss the days before smartphones? But it doesn’t have to feel that way… in fact, our phones can be a tool of relaxation!
Have you ever had a lucid dream? A dream where you were able to tell that it was a dream and not reality? The concept of lucidity has been around for a long time. In Buddhist practice there’s something called “dream yoga” the practice of meditating in a lucid dream. But now, researchers are beginning to learn how incorporate it into virtual reality.
You already know about meditation, and you may have heard that it’s becoming more mainstream—it’s not just for Buddhists or those totally chill hipsters. But technology is bringing mindfulness and meditation into the general public! Why? Because it can be beneficial to anyone. And with wearable relaxation technology and meditation apps, there’s no doubt that it’s only just beginning.
And one place that needs it most is the workplace.
The worlds of technology and health and constantly growing closer and closer together. Whether you’re at a medical hospital, physical therapy, or visiting a psychiatrist, chances are that technology is going to play a role in your treatment.
One such technology is making a name for itself in the medical and psychological community as an innovative way to help treat patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Those with MDD have an imbalance in their brain activity: the areas involved in emotion processing are in a hyperactive state, while the cognitive control and emotional regulation areas show decreased activity. Now, a new app is aiming to balance those two areas of the brain.
It’s been estimated that nearly 16 million adults age 18+ have been affected by depression, and close to 10% suffer from mood disorders. Can you guess what the most common treatment method is for both of these things? You guessed it: medication. And the number of people being prescribed these medications is on the rise. The second most common method for treating depression and other mood disorders is cognitive based therapy. But there’s another method that’s gaining popularity: mindfulness.
Unfortunately, not the pay gap, although hopefully that will improve soon too!
While some people choose to gift flowers, jewelry, or cute nic nacs to their mothers or wives on special occasions, others choose the route of technology. And do you want to know why? Although we’re all aiming for gender equality, it’s no secret that women still have it rougher than men, and technology can help change that!
I know I’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 it’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 “empower us and reduce pollution to our attention.”
We’re living in an “always on” society. We’re always doing something, we’re always connected, we’re always right by our phones (and reaching it more than we should). Whether it’s a call from your boss asking if you can come in on your day off or an email from an important client on the weekend, we’re never fully disconnected from our work, are we?
A new law is attempting to help French workers relax outside of work, giving them the “right to disconnect.”
A question that people often ask when they learn about mindfulness is “what’s the right age to start?” And the answer is: whenever you want!
While most people begin practicing mindfulness during or after a stressful life-changing event, it doesn’t matter when you start. Mindfulness is something that anyone can benefit from in any stage of life. From children to elderly adults—they even make mindfulness tools for children, see some of them here. Even though there’s no “right” age to begin your journey into mindfulness, there are a few stages in life when people tend to turn toward it:
Even if you’re lucky enough to have a super laid back and relaxed work environment, I’m willing to bet that stress still gets to you at work once in awhile. One study found that 60% of employee absences could be traced back to stress, and that number has been on the rise.
While there are a variety of factors in the workplace that can lead to stress, most are just out of our control. So what can we do about? Most of us are not going to up and quit an otherwise perfectly good job. And even if you did, what’s to say that your next job won’t cause the same stress?
So many of us have trouble sleeping! Some struggle to fall asleep every night, while others only have occasional sleepless nights. Either way, at some point in time we’ve all experienced at least one night of constant tossing and turning, minds that just won’t stop running. We’ve all woken up exhausted because we just couldn’t get the good night’s sleep we needed!
So what do you do when you can’t sleep? Count sheep? Probably not. Many people will walk over to their medicine cabinet and grab that good ol’ bottle of sleeping pills. But there’s a better way to get the sleep you crave—a natural way. What is it?