But as people recognize how difficult it can be to stay mindful in our digital world, applications are being developed to help prevent us from getting too caught up in all the technoogy that surrounds us, and offering ways to come back to the present and be more mindful.
Digital Mindfulness Bells
In a previous post, we looked at how you can use the idea of a mindfulness bell as a cue to pause what you’re doing and take a few moments to be mindful. Technology, which is one of the things that often interferes with our attempts to live a more mindful life, now offers us some ways to incorporate mindfulness into our busy, computer-, internet- and smartphone-laiden lives.
We can now take advantage of applications for our computers, iPhones and Android phone that will play a mindfulness bell throughout the day at set times or random intervals, helping us find those moments of mindfulness during those times when we’re stuck on our computers or attached to our phones all day, and can so easily wind up stressed and mindless.
Mindfulness from your Computer
If you want more than just a bell, there are programs and apps for that, too. Stillness Buddy runs on your PC or Mac, and provides a variety of short “moments of stillness” and longer “mindfulness pauses,” spread out during the day. These breaks are very brief so they don’t interfere with your work, and you choose their duration and frequency to suit your preferences and schedule. The exercises have been designed in such a way that they can be carried out very discreetly, so you can do them in the middle of a busy office, without anybody noticing that you are taking a very important moment to re-connect with your own stillness.
Mindfulness from your Phone
The Mindfulness App for the iPhone, allows you to select from a number of guided and silent meditations ranging from 3 to 30 minutes in length, create your own customized meditation, and set mindfulness notices that act like a mindfulness bell. Mindfulness Meditation is a similar app that offers a series of mindfulness meditations.
The Potential Project: Mindfulness app for Android, is “specifically designed to help people integrate mindfulness training into a busy and active work life.” It allows you to listen to mindfulness practices on your phone, create reminders to help you remember your mindfulness training during the day, and create practices of custom length with silence and mindfulness bells.
The Mindful Solutions at Work Program was created by Elisha Goldstein. We looked at some of his mindfulness exercises in posts on Give Yourself a Break From Stress and Stop Stress and Anxiety. This new mindfulness app for the iPhone or iPad introduces simple mindfulness practices to integrate into your day, keeps track of your practices, and sends email reminders of how you’re doing to help you stay on the path. Here’s a two-minute video that shows you how this app works in daily life.
If you find yourself stuck on a computer all day or glued to your phone, instead of letting this become a source of stress and anxiety, finds ways to take advantage of that technology to help you practice mindfulness. Instead of playing minesweeper or solitaire the next time you’re at your computer and need a break, try a few minutes with one of these mindfulness programs. Next time you pull out your phone to start playing angry birds, try running a mindfulness app instead.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the stress that is all around us. When we have some free moments, instead of mindlessly distracting ourselves, we can use these moments to return to the present, give ourselves a few moments of mindfulness, and then return to our days more centred, more relaxed, and more present.
Traditionally, mindfulness has always been no further away than your breath. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, your breath is always right there with you, and can function as an anchor to bring you back into the present and into mindfulness. These days, mindfulness is also no further than your nearest computer or smartphone