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Can Your Smartphone Make You Mindful?

https://www.mindful.org/can-your-smartphone-make-you-mindful/

mindful.org

Can Your Smartphone Make You Mindful?
Meditation apps help users see mindfulness as part of their lives but they also run the risk of becoming just another tech habit. In 2003 and 2004, 63 prisoners at a Seattle jail enrolled in a 10-day meditation course as part of a study by the University of Washington.

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Not backed up by science

Not backed up by science

While popular, researchers say there is a serious lack of evidence to back up mindfulness apps, even though they are increasingly perceived as proven treatments for mental health. 

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Seeking scientific validation

A handful of studies have been published on the efficacy of mindfulness apps, thanks in part to Headspace, one of the most popular apps in the field. In hopes of getting its app scientifically validated, the organization has partnered on more than 60 studies with 35 academic institutions. In the meantime, in lieu of research proving that apps work, marketers tend to draw misleading, but attractive claims.

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The paradox of mindfulness apps

Mindfulness disrupts unhelpful habits. If you get distracted easily or have addictions, mindfulness helps curb these habits. But, in contrast, apps become popular and profitable by getting users lightly addicted to repetitive use. So, can an app really treat addiction, or is it inherently part of the problem? As of now, we don’t know the answer to that question.

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Designing a culture

When people have their first meditation experience with an app, the nature of the app influences how they understand meditation. For the vast majority, meditation apps = meditation. So they miss the real point of mindfulness this - as a way to experience the present moment.

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The positive in digital mindfulness

Digital mindfulness training could be effective in theory: it can be affordable, accessible, flexible, anonymous, empowering, and enjoyable. It might be in helping users see mindfulness as part of their lives. But when a meditation app becomes just another habit, like checking email, it risks becoming less mindfulness training and more so just another piece of technology taking up headspace. 

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Apps Are Changing Mindfulness

Apps Are Changing Mindfulness
  1. Most apps use a subscription model, that rely on user dependence—reinforcing, rather than breaking, habits.
  2. Apps encourage the idea that meditation is a solo practice, whereas in the past it was often learned in group settings.
  3. It’s always guided—something you do alone or with headphones in. Users can’t ask questions or get personalized instruction. 
  4. Meditation apps sometimes imply that their app’s brand of meditation is the only style of meditation.

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Mindfulness in major religions

Instructions for mindfulness meditations have been found in ancient texts of nearly every major religion, but it's Buddhism that exemplifies best mindfulness meditation: it...

Meditation and healthcare

Meditation has drifted from its religious connections and has been adopted by psychologists, healthcare professionals and other secular organizations as an effective way to deal with the stress and illnesses of the modern world.

3 core components of meditation:

  • Awareness: Focus on developing awareness. 
  • Non-Judgement: Witnessing an experience or sensation without attachment or criticism.
  • Peace: Though your feelings are valuable, mindfulness teaches you how to find serenity despite them.

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What mindfulness is

What mindfulness is

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

What meditation is

Meditation is exploring. When we meditate we venture into the workings of our minds: sensations, emotions and thoughts.

Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”

Mindfulness In Sleep

Mindfulness In Sleep

Sleep heals our mind and body, but in today’s fast-paced and distracted world, many people are sleep deprived, wreaking havoc on their attention spans, mood and brain functioning. ...

Mindfulness: Do’s And Don’ts

  1. Daily meditation: Having a daily meditation practice, be it mindfulness, a mental body scan or even chanting is crucial.
  2. Away from the bed: If you are unable to sleep, try to change your place, as the bed has to be associated with sleep.
  3. Sleep apps don’t work: Sleep apps are not to be relied on for sleeping, and one should cultivate our own body to be able to sleep without any aid like sleep apps or even sleeping pills.
  4. Don’t try too hard: Sleeping is an effortless effort, and your mind and body has to be conducive for it to happen. Forced sleep is the primary mistake many insomniacs make. Sleep happens on it’s own if you allow it.

Three Ways To Wind Down

  1. Eliminate distractions, like your smartphones or tablets, that hinder sleep by their radiation, constant notifications and the blue light they emit.
  2. Don’t pressure yourself to sleep and instead focus on calming your mind and practicing mindfulness and relaxed breathing.
  3. Mental body scan is an effective mindfulness meditation that promotes sleep, where one notices one’s breathing and various bodily sensations, while mentally scanning one’s body parts.