Are You Mindful?

If you were to spend a few hours in a mall or public place, you would find people of all ages with technology. A decade ago, if you did the same thing, you would probably see a few people with flip phones or pagers, but beyond that, you wouldn’t see much. Today, you will see everything from a Fitbit, to an IPad, to a smartphone on most people. Although the advances in technology have opened up endless amounts of opportunities and information for everyone, it has also created barriers between us. Many people now use technology for a crutch. We use it to look at Facebook or play Angry Birds when we are bored. We use it to Google information when we are too lazy to simply think about an answer. We use it when we are in an awkward situation and would rather pretend to be on our phone instead of facing the issue.

Although I do my best to use technology mindfully, I often find myself using technology as a crutch too. I’d be lying if I said that I had never chosen to pretend to look at my phone to avoid an awkward encounter, or if I said I’d never scrolled mindlessly through Facebook because it was easier than getting out and finding something better to do to entertain myself. At the same time, I do make a conscious effort to tune out of technology at time.

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Photo CC: Johnny Silvercloud

When I was in high school, you would never catch me without my phone. It was the first thing in my hand when I woke up in the morning and the last thing in my hand when I went to bed. During class, I would keep my phone in my pocket, at least until it went off. Then, I would sneakily try to hide it under my desk to reply to the text message, snapchat, etc. After years of constantly being on my phone, I finally had an epiphany. I was literally obsessed with my phone. I felt anxious and naked if I was without it (similarly to the students in this article). It was in this moment that I made the conscious effort to cut back. This doesn’t mean that I don’t carry my phone with me anymore, but I take time to unplug from my devices now too.

Being constantly connected to technology causes us to miss important things in life. We miss real life interactions with people. How many times do you find yourself hanging out with a friend or loved one and instead of talking or doing something, you just sit on your phone and scroll through Facebook? I know I do! Even though I’ve made steps to reducing my dependency on technology, there are still times when I should be more present or stop multitasking. For example, I’m really terrible about watching TV while I do homework. In addition, I often times reply to text messages or snapchat people while I’m at the dinner table with my family.  Reading the videos and articles this week was the reminder I needed that although I don’t have quite the obsession with my phone that I used to, I still have a lot of work to be more mindful about my technology use.

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Photo CC: dee & tola monstah
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6 thoughts on “Are You Mindful?

  1. I really enjoyed reading this. I to can relate to the feeling not being mindful of my technology use. There are days I leave my phone in another room just to make sure I don’t hear it. I feel that a lot of my extra time is wasted because I get sucked in to looking at Facebook. I decided a while ago only to check Facebook at night before bed. THere are way more important things I need to be doing. I do have a rule at my house no phones at the table- even if we eat out. Dinner times are for conversations and catching up one on one with each other. Great post!

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    1. I agree. It’s amazing how much you can miss when distracted by technology. I’ve been trying to notice when I’m missing out on life because I’m too entranced by my cellphone, my laptop, my television. It’s hard to pull yourself away from something that is often a necessary tool for work and education. But when we slip into the realm of entertainment we need to place limits on our tech time. I want my son to be someone who grows up playing outside versus someone who finds their entertainment in a screen. I am the first example he has, I am the only example that I can control. So for him I limit my screen time.

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      1. I 100% agree with everything you said! I’ve been trying really hard to cut back on my technology use. I like what you said about how you limit your son’s TV time. I watch my little cousin a lot and try to make sure that we don’t sit around all day watchng TV. I’ve found that the library is a great alternative!

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    2. Charity, I also put my phone in a different room so I’m not tempted to look at it! I like your rule about phones at the dinner table. My family doesn’t have that rule, but sometimes I feel that it would be a good way to ensure that everyone was attentive at dinner. Thanks for the comment!

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  2. Thank you for such a great read! I to, am constantly checking my phone for new updates on Facebook or other social media. One thing that I can say though is at dinner time, I feel that is our only real family time to catch up with my kids and see how everyone’s day is going so for the most part, we don’t bring our electronics to the dinner table. I agree with you on being more attentive to our loved ones when they are physically present.

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