Mindfulness in the Age of Distraction

Mindfulness in the Age of Distraction

Many books and articles have been written on mindfulness but it’s difficult to remain mindful in the age of technology with the constant interruption of notification sound effects, vibrations, and ringtones. Our minds are wired for these distractions; they love, love, love the hit. It’s a bit like fireworks going off in our brain; when our cell phones sound, our brains light up with dopamine, the happiness chemical. But just like the sound of slot machines can have a habit-forming quality so can the hits we get from our cell phone sounds, to the detriment of our ability to enjoy the present moment and the people in our company. Time Magazine’s recent article, You Asked: Am I Addicted to My Phone, looks at the potential impact of smartphones on our health and relationships.

So what would it be like to be really present today with a family member or friend whom you really love? To fully give your attention to that person without checking your phone (not even once)? The long-term benefits of spending some time each day fully tuning in to the present moment without phone distractions may just surprise you.

Gratitude and our health

Gratitude and our health

We have one day of the year dedicated to giving thanks. What would it look like if we practiced gratitude for even the smallest things 365 days? A recent study by Paul Mills of the University of California San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine looked at the effects of gratitude on physical health and emotional well being.  “It turned out the more grateful people were, the healthier they were. ‘They had less depressed mood, slept better and had more energy,’ says Mills.” For more details, check out the NPR story Gratitude Is Good For The Soul And Helps The Heart, Too.