Distractions from technology pull our attention in a million directions every day.
The world we live in is the Age of Distraction.
Is your train of thought derailed by distractions from technology all day long? These distractions come from text messages, email alerts, news headlines, and social media notifications.
If you are reading this on your smartphone, then your phone is in your hand right this moment.
For fun, see if you can read this all the way to the end without your train of thought getting derailed by distractions from technology.
If you are reading this on a computer, how many browser bars do you have open right now?
I am embarrassed to admit that I have six open browser bars.
Where is your phone?
Mine is about 18” away from me. I have it face down and silenced so I can focus on writing this article without distractions from technology in the form of push notifications.
I would be lying if I said I haven’t wanted to pick it up to make sure I’m not missing out on anything.
FOMO (fear of missing out) has become a pervasive condition in our society.
Constant distractions from technology have become the norm in many, if not most, people’s lives.
Even when we are with other people, we are distracted and not present with one another.
It’s impossible to go to a restaurant and not see people sitting together, all on their devices, ignoring each other.
Raise your hand if you have been guilty of posting pictures to social media of you with friends during a social event. Then, instead of being full engaged with the people you were with, you kept checking to see how many “likes” or comments your picture got.
My hand is raised.
How about when you meet a friend for lunch and they go to the bathroom? Do you use that alone time as an opportunity to check your phone to see what you’re missing out on?
I have done it more times than I can count.
This constant barrage of distractions from technology has many negative effects on our wellbeing, including:
- Increased stress and anxiety because our minds are bombarded with new information and unable to rest.
- Decreased happiness due to constant connectivity and our thoughts focused outside of ourselves.
- Blocked creativity and inability to hear inspired new ideas because of a lack of quiet, idle time.
- Decreased accuracy and productivity due to multitasking and not being completely focused on any one thing.
- Increased tension and resentment in relationships due to partners feeling neglected by technology intrusions.
- Increased accidents due to not paying attention to the task at hand.
These are just a few of the negative effects caused by our attention being constantly pulled from one thing to another.
I frequently talk to women that are experiencing a midlife transition. One chapter of their life is closing and they don’t know what they want to do in the next chapter. Oftentimes they say they don’t know what to do to help them figure it out.
My first question is always, “Do you have a self care practice that includes mindfulness?”
Sometimes they respond that they work out.
After further inquiry I often discover they have ear buds in and listen to loud music while working out.
Working out is awesome. I am a huge advocate of self care that nurtures body, mind, and spirit. The problem is if you have loud music blaring in your ears, it’s a distraction from technology.
You must have some quiet time so you can rest your mind and create space to hear the whispers of divine inspiration.
Why do you think you have great ideas while you are in the shower or when you wake up in the middle of the night?
Because those are times that you are not multitasking or distracted by external noise.
When my youngest son graduated from high school and my husband and I became empty nesters, I questioned, “Now what?” I entered my own midlife transition and wondered what was next.
I wanted to paint, but I had a loud inner critic that kept me from letting go and painting. To support me in healing my creative blocks, I took a 12 week course based on the book, “The Artist’s Way”.
There were two practices in the course that helped me to quiet my inner critic and tap into my inner artist:
- Every morning I wrote three longhand pages of stream of consciousness ramblings. The author, Julia Cameron, called these pages “morning pages”. It was spewing out onto paper whatever was on my mind. The purpose is to free our minds of distracting thoughts and limiting beliefs that keep us stuck.
- Once a week I took my inner artist on a date, just the “two” of us. No one else could tag along on “our” artist dates. I went to a museum, I combed antique shops, I took walks with my camera, I went to the barn to ride or hang out with my horse.
These practices trained me to practice mindfulness. I loved them.
Nine years later, I still write morning pages and spend time alone without distractions.
When I commuted to an office 30+ minutes away each morning, I would turn off the radio. I got to where I couldn’t stand to hear the “noise” of the morning drive time DJ’s. I would drive in silence, using that time to listen to my own thoughts, or I would listen to self help CDs or podcasts.
My morning rituals are sacred to me. They are “my time” where I create the space to practice self love and mindfulness.
Through my mindfulness practice I learned to hear the inner whispers of my heart and soul.
I discovered my own voice.
I got clarity on my heart’s desires.
I learned to be present and compassionate with myself.
I discovered by keeping my own cup full I had more love to give to others.
I transformed my life into a life I love every single day…even when I was in the midst of pain and grief.
I learned to feel my feelings…all of them, while using my breath as my anchor.
What about you?
In this Age of Distraction, do you carve out sacred time for yourself? Time where you unplug from all the distractions so you can just “be” and rest your mind?
If not, I invite you to join me for my free 10-day mindfulness course: How to Be Present in the Age of Distraction.
This self nurturing course will teach you simple and fun ways to practice mindfulness.
You will enjoy a multitude of benefits from this practice:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Experience deeper sleep so you wake up feeling refreshed
- Increased creativity
- Improved memory and ability to think more clearly
- Increased attention span and ability to focus
- Increased happiness and overall attitude
- Improved relationships
- Increased self-compassion
- More compassion and empathy for others
Once you register, you will receive a daily mindfulness exercise via email for 10 days. You simply need to set aside 30 minutes to complete each daily exercise in order to receive the maximum benefit from the course.
If you are ready to get your train of thought back on track, then click here to register.
I hope that you will say “YES!” and give yourself the wonderful gift of mindfulness.