Is your Instagram feed the last thing you see at night before closing your eyes? Do you jump on the little red notifications as soon as they appear? And how many times a day are you really refreshing your inbox?
We’re all for digital-connectedness, but this May we’re taking a step back and trying to introduce mindfulness into our lives, and therefore, our devices.
To do that, we’ve been talking to mindfulness pros, Smiling Mind. Not only is their meditation app transforming the practice for millions of individuals, they also work with thousands of teachers all across Australia to introduce mindfulness to children to help them establish healthy habits early on in life. They’re taking a system level approach to help future generations thrive.
Yes, we’re encouraging you to switch off by using your phone, but stick with us.
Where’s the harm?
Naturally, we’re the first to state there is a lot to be loved about the digital world in which we live. After all, we’re a company that makes the internet and all its glorious content more accessible for everyone. But we humans spend an average of four hours a day on our phones.
That boils down to: 60 days a year on your phone.
And that’s probably a conservative estimate for the Linktree community, being the switched-on side-hustlers that you are. Gulp, right?
How digital connectivity impacts your health
What does it matter?, you might think – just as we did. With a whole host of insights coming to the fore, and a new iPhone update that tracks your screen time, we’re all getting clued up. Overuse of social media can result in:
- Anxiety – around getting enough likes, growing followers, posting enough content.
- Depression – online everyone else’s lives can look amazing so it makes us feel bad about ours.
- FOMO – no we can’t all be at Art Basel, Coachella and the World Surf Championships.
- Lowered body image/self esteem – we can’t all have washboard abs…some of us like cheese, right?
- Our relationships suffering – we’re talking about real relationships, when was the last time you caught up with a mate in the flesh instead of chucking them a like or an emoji?
Studies have found that loneliness increases with use of social media. Comparing our lives to the lives of others (as we all so often do on social media) has a negative impact on mental health regardless of whether we believe our lives to be better or worse. Just the act of comparison is damaging.
Not only that, but blue light and overstimulation near bedtime can detune the body’s clock (more on that next week!). And exaggerated tech addiction has now been shown to actually damage the brain’s frontal lobe.
But we’re all here because we want to grow our reach, our audience, our brands and businesses online. So what are we to do? Smiling Mind to the rescue!
What is mindfulness and where do I get it?
According to Smiling Mind “mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity and without judgement” Practicing mindfulness can help you beat stress and anxiety by creating a sense of calm and helping you regulate your emotions. In fact, mindfulness can boost your business in lots of ways – you’ll have better attention span, heightened awareness and creativity and improved productivity.
There’s a common misconception around mindfulness, that it’s about sitting around in happy pants and chanting in an ashram but really it’s just about bringing a conscious awareness to your life. Plus, you don’t even have to meditate to practice mindfulness, there’s informal ways to practice too.
You don't have to meditate to practice mindfulness. Put your phone on airplane mode at dinner with friends and see how that impacts your mood and empathy.
You know when you’re mindlessly scrolling Instagram…you know when you end up on your cousin’s wife’s dog’s best friend’s account, all you have to do is notice this, stop what you’re doing and notice that it happened. That’s mindfulness.
An easy way to practice mindfulness is to engage your senses, for example in the mornings take the time to drink your coffee slowly and actually smell it, taste it, engage all your senses.
Just as we were settling in to an inspired night of Netflix while researching mindfulness, Smiling Mind went and delivered a real truth bullet….
There is no such thing as multi-tasking
Addie Wootten, CEO of Smiling Mind, explains. “It’s an urban myth that we’re more productive if we can master the ability to multi-task. The truth is that none of us can effectively multi-task.” Hold up, whutt.
“The constant attention switching required to manage two (or more!) competing tasks actually takes more mental energy than focusing on one thing at a time. It slows us down, making us less productive.”
Well dang, there goes your weekend. But it makes sense when you consider it takes an average of 64 seconds* to recover train of thought after checking email. That means if we check our email every five minutes, we waste 8.5 hours per week.
Instead Addie says, “I challenge everyone to build the skill of uni-tasking and reap the benefits!”
Help us Smiling Mind! Tell us what to do!!
Thankfully the good people at Smiling Mind sent over some digital detox ideas to build us back up again.
- Turn off notifications! Check out this amazing article on how to configure your phone for productivity.
- Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while…or even crazier, actually catch up in the flesh!
- Set a no-phones-at-dinner-table rule at home.
- Limit phone usage 1 hour before bed – blue light reduces melatonin which helps us get to sleep.
- Buy an actual alarm clock!
- Meditate – use your phone for something that’s good for you with the FREE Smiling Mind app. All you need is 10 mins a day to actually change your brain. Try it on Apple here or Android here.
- Got kids? Be mindful of how you use tech around your children – they’re sponges and will copy you. Try to be in the moment!
- ….and go follow @smilingmind for daily tips and tricks!
We’re game to give it a go! The team here is now using Smiling Mind together and we’re making sure we put our phones down at lunch and dinner times. Turns out we spill less that way.
What ways do you bring mindfulness into your work? Come and join our conversation over on Instagram! We’ll me sharing more tips and tricks through the month.
We love the way Smiling Mind uses its Linktree!
- Beautifully branded with their vibrant, contrasting house colors.
- A controlled number of links on the Linktree – which directs their audience to where they want them most.
- Social icons used to ensure audience grows across all platforms.
Bravo! And the best news is that now you too can use Smiling Mind’s rad theme. Just go to Settings within Linktree admin and choose from two colorways!
*Jackson, Dawson & Wilson, 2002.