Mindfulness in 2014: Hop on the Bandwagon!

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It seems that mindfulness–being fully present–is trendy, chic and cool, at least when measured by organizations like JWT Worldwide’s “100 Things to Watch for in 2014” and the universe’s #1 answer-finder, Google.

Could you have guessed it, after endless hours spent with kids on holiday breaks with their noses stuck in at least one piece of electronic do-da?  After too many parties–relatives, co-workers, neighbors–fueled by spiked eggnog and jaws flapping endless blah-blah?

But here we are on January 6, most of us having rejoined our usual post-holiday routines (with the exception of those cold- and snow-bound at home), being mindful.  I have to tell you I’m thrilled.

What the world needs now is love . . . and mindfulness

Dionne Warwick sang about the world needing love in the 1960s; 50 years later, I believe we need to add mindfulness.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for technology, gadgets and the latest e-thing that makes us squeal, OMG!!

But electronics and technology can drive some of us to distraction because we’re constantly checking email or Facebook or Twitter when we need to stay focused.  I know there are times when I think my attention-span has reverted to summertime as a child.  Every 10 minutes I would holler, “Mom, I’m bored!”

I can’t imagine boredom today!  There’s too much to pay attention to!

A few days ago, huffingtonpost.com published a piece that got me thinking about mindfulness as a practice for the year.  The author, Carolyn Gregoire, interviewed the director of trendspotting at JWT Worldwide, a marketing and communications agency.  The director said that mindfulness is a “kind of counter-trend to the past decade of overly stimulated, ADD-afflicted, tech-saturated culture that we’ve been living in.  What was once the domain of the spiritual set has filtered into the mainstream as more people are drawn to this idea of shutting out distractions and focusing on the moment.”

Segmenting our lives

Somehow we need to learn to set boundaries from our gadgets.  It’s tough because we do everything with them (how do you think so many cell phones get dropped in toilets?).  But–and I’m speaking just for myself–I have to force myself to put everything down in order to practice mindfulness.

On that revealing note, beginning today, I’m going to implement the following boundaries with my gadgets:

1.  In the mornings, no checking anything on my iPhone or iPad until I’ve journaled and meditated. The only exception is the two or three ebooks and emails that I incorporate into my meditation time.

2.  During my work day, I’ll only check my email five times: before work begins, mid-morning, lunch-time, mid-afternoon and after work.  Only one exception: if the email is client-related and time-sensitive.  I might even consider turning off my notifier.

3.  Since social media can be scheduled ahead of time, I’ll get posts lined up the previous day or first thing that morning.  I’ll only check in twice during the work day–in the morning and afternoon.

4.  Bedtime–before sleep time–will no longer include final peeks at social media or playing an electronic game.  The iPad will be in read-only mode, as in a novel or reflective piece before lights out.

There  are more boundaries that I can set, but I don’t want to shock my system!  The point is to make room for mindfulness and activities associated with being present, things like focusing on work, having real conversations, writing notes and cards and, for me, studying subjects that make my heart sing, like recovery advocacy.

Plus, there’s this big, red, heart-shaped cushion in my office that is dying to become a place to practice mindfulness. I’m mindfully headed there now . . .

Happy 2014 and happy mindful living.  By the way, this first post of 2014 is B Here Today’s 300th!  Thank you to everyone who reads and sends me notes.  You inspire me to keep writing!

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6 Comments

  1. Great tips here Beth! I’m working on that too this year. It is so easy to get distracted by the latest updates on social media. That is not necessarily good for the brain or for our overall well being. Tanks for the reminder.

    • Beth says:

      I’ll let you in on a secret, Cathy (as if no one else will know!): Last night, after I wrote this post, I promptly went to bed with my iPad and checked Facebook, then started playing a game! My typical addict brain justified my behavior by telling me that I wrote in the post that I would begin “today” which was technically Monday when the post published!

      Geez!

      Hope you have a great week!

  2. Polly says:

    You have officially become Beth, No. 1, since our other dear Beth is no longer on line in any regular format. Technology and social media, for me, are not an issue, but there are endless ways to not be present in the moment and I am a master of many of them. My intention this year is to spend more time on my meditation mat and to only do ONE thing at a time. No more watering the plants in the kitchen sink while I take clothes from the washer and put into the dryer, and finish loading the dishwasher–all while I eat my lunch, standing up!!!

    • Beth says:

      Oh my gosh, Polly, I don’t think I’m at all comfortable taking over No. 1 status, although I’m honored that you would say so!

      You gave me a little giggle as I picture you you bustling around your kitchen doing all those tasks and I imagine you stuffing a sock into your mouth thinking it was your sandwich!

      B Well, my friend!

  3. Oh my gosh Beth – I’m trying to do something similar, myself. I cannot believe how frantic all this “connection” can make me feel because there is ALWAYS one more thing I can do, check, update, tweet, tweak… I love your suggestions – especially numbers 1 and 4.

    • Beth says:

      One and four are killers, Lisa! I confess I’m not doing so well. BUT–I have ample opportunity to practice being gentle with myself when I “slip.”

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