Aran Levasseur’s post Why We Need to Teach Mindfulness in a Digital Age gave me a lot to think about.  To quote:

In the absence of stimulation, and the corresponding dopamine high, we’re likely to feel bored. As a result, many of us become stimulation junkies and incessant multitaskers. In the New York Times article, “Attached to Technology and Paying the Price,” Matt Richtel wrote, “While many people say multitasking makes them more productive, research shows otherwise. Heavy multitaskers actually have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information, scientists say, and they experience more stress … And scientists are discovering that even after the multitasking ends, fractured thinking and lack of focus persist. In other words, this is also your brain off computers.”

I often have this problem, myself.  I have trouble sitting still to do one activity for very long.  For example, right now I am watching a DVD, typing this post, and chatting with a friend.  In fact, I’m barely able to watch television at all without doing at least one other activity.  The only time I’m really able to focus on one activity is when I read.

The idea of teaching digital mindfulness is very appealing.  If, as an adult, I have trouble with this concept, I can only imagine how difficult it must be for kids growing up with the type of technology I didn’t have at that age. Information overload is a very real problem.

This semester I’ve learned about so many new programs and platforms.  I’m very excited to incorporate them into my learning experience, but when doing so I’ll now be sure that I’m also taking time to focus and be fully aware of what I’m doing in each moment.

“Mindfulness practice,” according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, a pioneer of mindfulness-based stress reduction, “means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.”


One response

  1. Shannon Sedell | Reply

    I really appreciated your post. I too am often overwhelmed by the number of things going on all at once. The kicker is that I don’t notice it! When I try to consciously multitask, it never works. However, when I step out of what I am engaged it and notice the number of activities that are happening simultaneously, I am baffled that my brain hasn’t exploded. Information overload is very real and is totally insidious. I liked Aran’s point of view. Thank you for sharing!

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