Mindfulness and Our Electronic Addiction

Ashlyn Ayers Ellington's picture

In writing this title, notice how I said “our” electronic addiction…. I'm included in this issue, and chances are, you (and/or your partner, friends, or child) may be too. If you have kids, we are entering into the second half of the semester, and you may be starting to see the negative affects of electronics overuse. For us adults, distraction and overuse of our electronics can be the source of poor performance at work and home. According to a 2015 Pew study, over 56% of teens (13-17 years old) are on their smart phones multiple times a day, 24% report being on their smart phones “almost constantly”. Electronics are diminishing our ability to interact with others face-to-face and regulate our emotions without the Internet as an aid.

This is where mindfulness comes in, multiple studies have shown regular mindfulness to be a protective factor against Internet addiction. If we can be present and mindful of our emotions, we can more consciously select activities to regulate our emotions and urges. So how do we start? Mindfulness does not have to be a chore, we can start by practicing mindful awareness of the activities we already spend time doing throughout our day. I’ve included a mindfulness awareness exercise below from pocketmindfulness.com. Lets put our phones and computers aware and live the life that’s in front of us today.

“Think of something that happens every day more than once; something you take for granted, like opening a door, for example. At the very moment you touch the doorknob to open the door, stop for a moment and be mindful of where you are, how you feel in that moment and where the door will lead you. Similarly, the moment you open your computer to start work, take a moment to appreciate the hands that enable this process and the brain that facilitates your understanding of how to use the computer.

These touch point cues don’t have to be physical ones. For example: each time you think a negative thought you might choose to take a moment to stop, label the thought as unhelpful and release the negativity. Or, perhaps each time you smell food, you take a moment to stop and appreciate how lucky you are to have good food to eat and share with your family and friends.”