Being mindful about unplugging

Turns out unplugging is in the top 5 resolutions for the year. I’m not surprised.

It’s not a resolution for me. What is top of mind for me is being mindful.

Mindfulness is

                “Paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”

This is according to Chade Meng-Tan who wrote “Search Inside Yourself.”

I try to be mindful of when I use technology. For example, when I’m at dinner with friends, I put the devices away. I’ll hear the alert if it’s a work emergency. Anyone else will have to wait while I enjoy good conversation and good food.

I'm making an effort to be mindful of when I use devices. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

I’m making an effort to be mindful of when I use devices. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

I’m mindful of not taking photos of the food or drinks, too. I started the habit a few years ago, and then realized I had way too many photos of food and drink. Why exactly do I need to share these with others? I do allow myself the occasional photo (or two).

I struggle with mindfulness when I am watching television, which almost seems like an oxymoron. However, I try not to watch much TV, and when I do, I want to enjoy the show. Too often, I find myself tweeting about the episode I am watching (along with millions of others), checking emails or mindlessly playing a game on my iPad. Before I sit down to watch a show now, I put all devices in another room. This way if the urge strikes to use one, I at least have to get up and move.

As I continue to be more mindful, I have resorted to an app on my phone called Calm. It allows me to choose a sound and “enjoy a session of just sounds for relaxation or solo meditation.” It encourages me to “simply stay open to whatever happens” each time I listen. I can program it for 2 minutes to 60 minutes, and I confess that two minutes is about as long as I am able to be mindful. I’m working on it, though.

I often don’t want to unplug because technology enables me to be more efficient. I do want to be mindful of when and how I use it.

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