Mindfulness involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there's a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment.
You may practice mindfulness since a very young age but not realize it. Here are a couple examples:
At Lafayette Elementary School in Northwest Washington, Sofia Parodi recently took a coveted seat at the head of the classroom and asked a fellow fourth-grader to switch off the lights and instructed the class to “Close your eyes and take three deep breaths,” They fell into a familiar rhythm of silently counting their breaths, then sharing their experience with their classmates.. Source: The Washington Post
Mumpreneur Dani Matthews shares the weekly mindfulness schedule she has set. Source: The Huffington Post
Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist leader who introduced mindfulness to Westerners (Google got first dibs on him as a guest speaker), once said, “The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention.” Yet for the majority of sentient beings today, simply getting through an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” without tending multiple screens is a quasi-mystical triumph. Naturally, the architects of our electronic age approach the situation as if it were an engineering problem.
... the architects of our electronic age have invented an app for that!
GPS for the Soul app - from Arianna Huffington
The Internet and the rise of social media have given us amazing tools to connect, and to bring about change in the world. At the same time, our 24/7 connection to the digital world often disconnects us from the real world around us -- from our physical surroundings, from our loved ones, and especially from ourselves. We see the effects of this in every aspect of our lives. And the consequences can be really damaging, in terms of our health, our jobs, and our relationships. That's why HuffPost created GPS for the Soul.
This app includes a "stress test". You place your finger over the camera lens and it tests your stress level.
Pause - the app - Relaxation at your fingertips
Based on the ancient principles of Tai Chi and mindfulness practice, PAUSE brings the act of focused attention to your mobile device. Using a patent-pending technique and a unique approach to modern technology, you can easily start the journey to relaxation – anywhere and anytime. By slowly and continuously moving your fingertip across the screen,
PAUSE triggers the body’s ‘rest and digest’ response, quickly helping you regain focus and release stress within minutes. The calming audiovisual feedback in the app is designed to help you keep your attention and focus in the present moment. Throughout the development of the application, PAUSE has been continuously tested and validated using EEG-technology.
What is PAUSE?
- A new digital approach to ancient meditation practices (patent pending)
- An interactive tool to quickly regain focus and release stress
- Scientifically tested and validated with EEG-technology
- Available anywhere and anytime
Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
How does such an app counteract too much multi-tasking? Pause gets the user to follow instructions with the primary goal of calming them down. What this means in practice is encouraging them to put their finger on the screen to touch a small, amorphous blob, and move it around very gently. As the user moves their finger they are instructed to slow down (if they go too fast), or keep going (if they stop entirely) It is easy for an active mind to get distracted by thoughts about those unanswered emails.
As they move the blob, it swells in size until -- if they have enough patience - it grows large enough to fill the entire screen. At this point, the app makes a suggestion to close your eyes. Hopefully, the user will experience that moment of calm.
A bell will chime once the time-out is over. (Customization is an option.)
Meditation for Skeptics App
- by Dan Harris from ABC News
Are you intimidated when it comes to meditation? An app called “10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics” is based on journalist Dan Harris’ bestselling book and aims to help you incorporate meditation into your daily life.
Dan Harris, a correspondent for ABC News in the US has recently released an app '10% Happier: Meditation for Skeptics' which is a great entry for beginners (and skeptics, which he was one of!).
Mindfulness may seem too touchy-feely and you might be "tough enough" to handle it. Everyone knows these types of activities are a "waste of time".
Before you finalize your opinion, watch this video and listen to Dan Harris as he shares his story. It might make you pause and ponder:
Evan Williams, the billionaire-to-be co-founder of Twitter, is a regular at Wisdom 2.0 events and began meditating just over a year ago. His practice has made an impact in ways both profound and less so. Just as Twitter paperwork was being finalized to go public, Mr. Williams did the unthinkable for someone in his position. He took a 20-minute walk through San Francisco without his phone. “I was able actually to look around and think about things for most of that period,” he said. “I would have had many more fleeting anxieties doing that a year ago, but I’m better with those silences now.”
Regardless of whether you use an app, a variable schedule, you have thoughts from a mom-preneur, software inventor, and TV personality. They all have stress and fears.
I have tested the Pause app. It takes me forever to grow the bubble on the screen. "Too fast" keeps popping up on the screen. This might be a clue that I could use an app or two.
Want to learn more? There are great groups on LinkedIn.
Doctors and nurses may have the most stress!
Dr. Dike Drummond is known worldwide for his commitment to help doctors and nurses lower stress and avoid burnout. Those who work in the medical field give out advice and counsel and have patients take little or no action. It is some days a thankless job.
There is an app for doctor burnout! Burnout Proof – Physician Burnout and Stress Prevention
If you are a doctor or want to offer your doctor a gift, share this book by Dr. Dike Drummond: Stop Physician Burnout: What to Do When Working Harder Isn't Working
Stressed? There is an app for that!