From the rise of smart devices to the development of hover-boards, there’s no doubt that technological advances have transformed the way we do life.
There’s much to be said for the positive impact of technology. For one, the digital age has made our lives more convenient than ever before.
However, the ability to access information or to prompt an action with the touch of a button has also led to a growing love of instant gratification. Aspects of life outside technology, as we know, don’t always allow our needs to be instantly met in the way our internet connections do. As humans steadily grow more reliant on technology, we can easily find ourselves feeling lost and anxious when occasional interruptions such as power outages occur.
How can we slow down amidst the rush, and maintain mindfulness in an age that encourages humans to function as if they were extensions of their smartphones? Check out the following solutions, and reconnect with reality!
Start the day right
For many of us, phones are the first thing we touch after waking up. That means that the first things we see each day are other people’s Instagram or Facebook feeds. Thus, we immediately enter into the digital world of over stimulation and artifice.
But your life is much more than a digital world – and you should try your best to reflect this reality in the things you prioritise. Try to distance yourself from your phone in the moments
when you need to fulfill your most basic human needs – that is, when you’re sleeping, meditating, eating or being with friends.
It may take a while for you to adjust to this phone less routine, so be prepared to feel a little bored at the start! After acknowledging this feeling for what it is, let it settle in. What seems like boredom will soon develop into calmness – and in turn, a more significant connection between your mind, body, and environment. You’ll effectively wake up your human senses by removing unnecessary digital stimuli.
Too often, we live with our heads in the Cloud, thinking about our digital lives and what next to share online. Developing your talents and sharing important and fun messages online can bring great benefit to your career and health, but to maintain a healthy balance, we need to reconnect with the ground beneath us (literally).
Do this by trying out mindful walking. This isn’t walking as you may know it: walking at the fastest pace possible, on a treadmill in a gym, with your headphones in. Instead, this is mindful walking, best done barefoot, outdoors, and with no digital distractions in tow. Focus on the many sensations you experience: the fresh grass beneath your feet, the gentle breeze upon your skin, and the sounds of nature that come into focus when you close your eyes. We feel calm just thinking about it!
Closing your eyes for a moment and concentrating on the way your body instinctively breathes in and out is guaranteed to alleviate anxiety in the midst of any crisis (including a crisis of the digital variety).
If you want to get some restorative exercise in along with your breathing exercises, try yoga. Mindfulness is a crucial tenet of this practice, and yoga will get you moving in sync with your breath. It’s a great way to return your overloaded mind to its rightful house within the body.
Use technology to get away from technology
Text message bleeps and email notification bings get us addicted to our devices in the first place. But what about transforming those nasty noises into your own mindfulness alerts, instead?
Apart from times when you know you are expecting an important call or message, revise your attitude to every new sound your phone or computer emits when you receive a new message. Rather than checking the notification straight away, take the bleep as a reminder to be mindful in the very midst of digital distraction. If this means not checking your device for 10 minutes, great. If it means putting the device away while you get on with something else for the next half hour, even better.
Practicing mindfulness is important for freelance writers like Johanna – it helps her stay focused, boosts creativity and provides inspiration. Visit Johanna’s Tumblr page to read more of her published work.
Johanna is a freelance writer based in New Zealand with a passion for health, fitness, and lifestyle. She loves to travel around the world and has had the opportunity to work in a variety of places – from Sydney to London. When she is not writing, you can find her finding creative ways to renovate her home with her husband in Wellington!