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.
As we’ve talked about before, technology can help us become more mindful! There are apps designed to promote mindfulness, like Moment and Buddhify. There’s even wearable technology designed to help us relax and focus! But you don’t have to download an app or buy any expensive devices to put technology to work for your mindfulness practice!
Rohan Gunatillake, author of Modern Mindfulness: How to Be More Relaxed, Focused, and Kind While Living in a Fast, Digital, Always-On World, provides tips on how we can take advantage of the technology that we have all around us.
4 Tips to Use Technology to Improve Mindfulness
Be aware of your body when using your phone.
Most of us unconsciously pick up our phones nearly 100 times a day. Take each one of these moments to bring awareness into your day. Each time you reach for your phone, pay attention to your body, such as to the physical experience of holding it. What does your phone feel like in your hand? Is it cold or warm? What do the buttons and the screen feel like as you use them?
Notice when you check your phone.
Each of those 100x that you pick up your phone, notice the way you’re feeling and why you’re looking at your phone. Are you bored? Lonely? Or are you reaching for your phone because you heard a notification? By noticing why you’re reaching for your phone it can help to break the cycle of mindless smartphone use!
Listen and actually pay attention to a podcast.
Sit down comfortably on a chair or on the floor in meditation posture and turn on your favorite podcast (we have one you can check out if you don’t have a favorite yet). Now, listen to the podcast—I mean, really listen to what is being said. When you feel your mind drifting, bring your attention back to the conversation. Start with 15-20 minutes and increase the time when you feel ready. This will not only help improve your
Watch the TV, not the content.
When you sit down to watch your favorite TV shows in the evening, switch your attention between the content (the show or move on the screen) and the actual screen! Pay attention to the edges of the screen, where the screen and frame meet, pay attention to reflections and light. Then bring your attention back to the content and notice how each type of awareness is different.
Technology doesn’t have to be a hindrance to our mindfulness practice, it can be an aid, we just have to use it the right way!