Being more mindful means aiming to live a life more often in real time – here and now – with emotional openness, mental clarity and resolve. Work, family, mass transit systems, crowds, in-laws – the modern life, in general, can be rather stressful for an average human.
Technology is a tricky matter as well – it serves the purpose of making our lives better and at the same time makes us often feel completely disconnected from the real world outside our window. We should use it to cultivate awareness of the moment, instead of creating another source of distraction.
In this guide, you'll find some handy apps and practices both to develop better tech habits, be more present in the moment and stave off that pesky stress.
Most of us feel anxious and stressed-out at work most of the days. Unfortunately, we don't always have room to step away and unwind – breathe, have a walk in the park or do some exercise. That's when some of the following apps and tools can come to the rescue:
Visual Meditation from QuietKit helps you can some relaxing breathing exercise to calm down and re-focus. Pair those with some soothing tunes in the headphones. QuietKit also offers a number of guided meditations audios and guides for beginners.
Quality Time (Android) and Moment (iOS) provide you with a daily report of your phone using habits. Perfect to get rid of your phone addiction and stop wasting time in apps too much. Rescue Time does the same job on your computer.
Do some calls and messages from certain contacts send you immediate shivers and put you in stress? Change their picture to something soothing or funny. It should remind you to pause and settle before picking up the phone. Of course, that shouldn't be something too provocative, as you don't want to get fired for such a silly thing.
To stay on task at all times, try using Freedom to block off social media, news sites, games and other common distractions.
When you don't have time to step out and enjoy the nature outside, but desperately crave for a change in your surrounding, use Serenity app, which transports you to the world of relaxation by showing you soothing moving pictures. Some are shorelines at sunset, others are flowers and trees waving lazily in the wind, kittens and puppies, abstractions and other visuals aimed at eliciting relaxation.
On The Go
Heading to a stressful appointment? Running late for an important meeting or just had a really bad day at work? Staying mindful and relaxed even when you are in transit is easy as there some great apps for that:
Pause (iOS only) is a beautifully designed stress-relieving app offering relaxation at your fingertips in a quite literal way. It's a gamified version of a lava lamp that encourages you to move your finger slowly following any pattern you like. The slower and more deliberate your moves become – the bigger the splash of color grows under your fingers. Once you move too fast, it all shrinks again.
Headspace is one of the top rated iPhone mindfulness and meditation apps according to a recent research conducted at Queensland University of Technology. It offers a daily set of guided meditations and breathing exercises to relieve stress, reduce anxiety and help you shift towards a more mindful lifestyle. The app is also pretty social as you can share your results with your friends, cheer everyone up and keep a detailed track of your accomplishments.
Serendipitor encourages you to find unexpected rewards during your daily commute and make small, everyday discoveries. This navigational app doesn't offer plain turn-by-turn directions, instead, it urges you to take a new route each day and make some small actions e.g. talk to strangers, sit under a tree for one minute, go on the top of that building. The goal of this app is to help you keep your eyes and mind more open to the environment surrounding you during the routine commuting. Just make sure you leave home a bit earlier to have enough time for the daily adventure.
The Mindfulness Bell will pleasantly chime at random times during the day as a reminder to pause and settle for a brief moment.
Home should be your sacred zone where you can fully relax, savor the moment and enjoy the tiny everyday acts. Technology here often just gets in the way, so make sure you take your time to completely disconnect and unwind.
Take your time to slow down and enjoy your time out to eat a delicious meal, really connect with your close ones (with TV and phones aside). You can bring more mindfulness even in your everyday chores e.g. laundry if you shift the "get it done" mindset to being fully present and enjoying the moment. When folding the laundry try to feel how textures and fabrics feel, how great everything smells, pay attention to the patterns and colors and turn the whole process into a sort of yoga practice.
If you have this urge to read the news and surf the media, focus on visiting sites that are delivering really positive (but not less real) news e.g. Fulfillment Daily, 100 Lives, and others. Shut off all the unnecessary notifications and reminders – you don't need to know about every new email, social media post or game update when you are at home. Check out those apps only when you have time.
Start a gratitude journal – a physical one, where you will write longhand in the evenings as you will be less distracted and stay more focused on the words you put on paper.
Living a more mindful lifestyle doesn't involve getting completely off-grid. Just stay aware of how you use the technology each day, mind the time you spend online and indulge in small, rewarding adventures on a daily basis!
The Tech Guide To Living a More Mindful Lifestyle
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The Tech Guide To Living a More Mindful Lifestyle