It’s harder than ever to be mindful in today’s world. That’s partially due to the fact that it’s easier than ever to be distracted. We live in a digital world and with it comes a whole host of new entertainment modes, communications channels, and outright distractions.
The constant pinging of notifications can be annoying even to people who aren’t trying to be mindful. If you are trying to maintain a mindfulness practice, it’s even more of a challenge. Can you even do so without resorting to moving to a cabin in the woods outside of cell reception and Wi-Fi range?
Of course, you can! You just need to learn how to integrate your mindfulness practice with your life and avoid the digital overwhelm that’s so common these days. That’s harder than it sounds, of course, but here are some things you can do to help.
The most important part of integrating mindfulness into a digital world is to control your digital life. As previously stated, it’s easy for anyone to find themselves overwhelmed these days.
Start by turning off all notifications (on your phone and computer) that you don’t actually need. Sales and price drops on items you’re watching? News stories? Book releases? All of these are things you can look up when you’re ready to give them your attention or have sent to your email.
Next, dedicate certain segments of time each day to checking your email, both work, and personal email. Don’t look at your email at other times. Turn off the notifications so you aren’t interrupted. If someone needs to get in touch with you that badly, they’ll call.
You can also sort your emails automatically by creating filters and applying labels, so you know what needs attention when you check your inbox and what can wait.
Finally, when you sit down to focus on anything -your mindfulness practice or otherwise -turn off all notifications. Put your phone on silent or turn on do not disturb if you want emergency calls to come through. The world will not end if you step away for an hour or two.
Part of the goal of mindfulness is to decide what you give your attention to. In today’s age, digital notifications try to make this decision for you and command your attention. Don’t let them. Make the choice yourself and corral your notifications. This will help both your mindfulness practice and your overall quality of life!