Digital Detoxing London
Many of us constantly check our phones or never turn them off; can’t eat our food without Instagraming it first; panic if no one likes our social media posts; really want to Tweet about it; have few practical skills, haven’t produced any art recently or only have lunch at our desks.
But on 12th March at the Impact Hub in Islington we prized the phones from our hands and finally put them aside for a couple of hours as we gathered for the first Digital Detoxing Meet-up in London.
It soon became clear that we were all at different stages of relationship with our technology and in particular screen-based technology. We all felt a level of distraction caused by the beep, buzz or vibration of our smartphones, some felt a constant state of anxiousness and many felt that there was not enough time. Getting a balance between the positive things technology brings us and the negative things is the key and a constant battle.
In this session we focused on what mindfulness has to teach us about making technology our slave rather than out master. Andy Hix from Zen@Work introduced us to some exercises to help us train our powers of attention.
We all immediately felt the benefits of starting with a meditation session. As our minds inevitably wandered, we repeatedly brought our attention back to our breathing. Then we were ready to focus on other aspects of our digital habits.
We’ve all been ‘phubbed’ – snubbed by someone who has looked at their phone or taken a call while we are speaking. So we explored the impact of that with an exercise where we tried to talk to someone while they were looking at their phone. It soon became clear recalling the conversation was impossible.
Reading is a skill we are losing. We tend to skim content rather than dwell on the words. Indeed many people find reading increasingly difficult and tiring. It seems the part of our brain required for this level of concentration needs more regular training.
We discussed the issues that these exercises raised and considered strategies to try out in our daily lives. Like lifting weights, just as you can build up your biceps by doing reps, practising mindfulness can strengthen attention.
We are looking forward to comparing notes on how we have got on at our next Digital Detoxing Meet-up on Thursday 23rd April at the Impact Hub, Islington, London. If you can make it, do sign up here.
Next Digital Detox is on Thursday, April 23rd @ Impact Hub Islington
RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/London-Digital-Detoxing-Meetup