Practicing Mindfulness

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Practicing Mindfulness

Monitoring Social Media Usage to Live in the Real Moment Rather Than the Virtual One

Mindfulness today is hard to achieve especially living in our current, highly distracting information and technology driven society. Our gadgets have become highly addictive and often get in the way of ordinary social engagement. I am really guilty of this. Just look around for yourself the next time you are at a restaurant. Pay attention to how many people are not talking to those they are with and instead are glued to their smart phones.

As a technology and social media proponent, we must adapt and evolve with the times. However, psychologists have brought up deep concerns that social media, while it has brought together people from across the globe, has increased loneliness and isolation. The reason is people feel they belong to a group but it often only exists virtually.

Psychology Today contributor Sydney Engelberg. Ph.D., explains this inherent human desire to belong in his article The Loneliness of Social Media

“As we know, human beings have a need to belong, to feel an integral part of something greater than themselves: a cause, project, or living entity that outlives and transcends their own brief life-line.”

Social media reinforces this sense of belonging by promising to introduce users to people they otherwise would never have met, which isn’t a bad thing. But, when users are too busy building viral friendships, they’re more glued to their online social media profiles and less attentive to humans in their real life.

As a social media die-hard, I write this more as a reminder to myself rather than a lecture to others. As a matter of fact, I recall a time not very long ago when I was walking with my daughter but glued to my Twitter account via my iPhone. I hardly looked up and nearly ran over a woman with the stroller. Not only was I rude to the woman, who was visibly upset, but I also should not waste precious moments with my baby girl by screwing around with my phone.

The Bottom Line:

Social media can be a great tool for publicizing oneself and connecting with other, especially in terms of business. But social isolation is just one draw back of overly consuming social media. I’m not saying to close down your accounts; rather, I feel that everyone, and that includes me, should simply monitor their usage. Being mindful means clearing the clutter and distractions from your life so that you can focus on the moment you are currently in, because you’ll never get it back. It’s being able to visit our past when we need to learn from it, plan for the future when it’s necessary and realize when it’s time to put away our gadgets and live our lives to the fullest.

Nhat Hanh





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