Mindfulness and existentialist writings in an age of anxiety

My mom invented digital minimalism

My mom invented digital minimalism (I’m only half joking)

My mother used to make my sister and I go on technology fasts. At the time, I thought it was awful and I’m sure my sister and I would have readily nominated her for the worst parent award at that moment. This was back when I was in high school before Facebook was the behemoth it is now.

She told us that, for an entire day, we were no longer allowed to be on the computer, play video games or watch tv. Needless to say, my sister and I almost died.

What my mother had stumble upon when she created this day without wires, screens, and buttons was something that most of us are only coming to realize now. We, as human beings, are incredibly susceptible to becoming overly dependent on (dare I say addicted to) digital technology.

I’m so thankful to my mother, who had the foresight to set boundaries on the amount of time my sister and I spent staring into our screens at such an early age. It sparked in me an awareness of how technology was shaping me as a human being.

It’s absurd to think about how angry and upset my sister and I had gotten when she created the 1-day prohibition on technology. If this is how we responded to digital fasting, then maybe we really were addicted to our screens.

Fast forward to now, I know I am much more conscious and intentional about my consumption of social media, Netflix, and my interneting in general. I don’t need to compulsively check my phone (texts, facebook, twitter, cat photos) every 20 minutes at work. I can even go an entire weekend without using my phone on a camping trip with friends (save one text message).

I know this doesn’t sound that spectacular, but consider your own children, spouse, friends, or co-workers. Would they be able to show the same level of restraint in this modern age of social media behemoths and streaming service giants? I rest my case.

So what is a mindful individual supposed to do to stay present, aware, and sane in this digital age?

Well, you can keep reading my blog for one ^_^

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from this link. This helps me offset the cost of my blog. Be mindful before you click on any links and ask yourself, “Will this purchase add value to my life”?

But in all seriousness, I do have a few recommendations

  • First and foremost, I recommend having household low tech days similar to the one my mom instituted.
  • Another tip is to check out the literature that is already available on digital addiction.
  • I recommend the book Digital Minimalism* by Cal Newport. In his book, Cal explores the digital minimalism movement and offers thoughtful tips, tricks, and reflections on how to manage our relationship with technology and stay sane in this digital age.
  • I also recommend doing a google search for some quality articles to understand how our smartphones and social media are affecting our health and well being. NPR has a curated collection of articles ready for your mindful consumption if you are interested

I’d love to hear how you manage and find balance your digital life. Please drop me a line at landon@compassionmonk.com or leave a comment below.

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