Last summer, while writing my Master’s dissertation on mindfulness and technology, I took part in VINAYA's three-day digital detox retreat in the Agafay Desert in Morocco. In honour of National Unplug Day, which takes place this weekend from March 4th to 5th, I’ve decided to open up my fieldnotes to share my experience of extreme, temporary disconnection.
As human beings, we have a finite amount of attention. Making time to create balance can be a struggle, especially in our modern hyper-connected reality where time has become our greatest luxury. Still, as we move through each day, we possess the potential to value, prioritise, organise and enjoy moments, people and activities as we choose. When we act mindfully, we make small choices about how this might impact the running themes in our lives.
Have you ever felt that elated feeling after a yoga class? That similar slightly euphoric feeling of a runner’s high as you come out of your final Savasana pose, roll up your mat and continue with your day? It's a more common human experience than you might think, and might actually have a lot to do with neuroscience.
From the discovery of the wheel to exploring outer space, we as humans have progressed in innovativeness, inventiveness and novelty with each generation. The unique brain pattern described as ‘creativity’ is observed when our human needs– such as comfort, accessibility and even curiosity– come into play. And it is because of these diverse human needs that we are able to witness the wonders of what human creativity, and innovation, can accomplish.
The last decade of technological innovation has resulted in a rapidly responsive and dialled-in nation. We’re only ever of couple of taps away from our thousands of ‘friends’, and an infinite web of free, digestible information. We're more digitally connected than ever before, it's all so seamless and accessible. Too accessible, for some; sixty percent of people say they suffer from notification fatigue and are looking for ways to disconnect from their smartphone so that they can reconnect with real life.
Let’s face it: even a best friend can be an annoying third wheel, particularly when they are an omnipresent source of neediness. Interested to better understand the effect that smartphones have on modern relationships, we asked 79 non-singles to tell us what role their digital devices play in their romantic relationships. Digging beyond the stats, we wanted to understand how they as a couple deal with digital disruption. The verdict? A bunch of mixed feelings.
Self-improvement forms the basis of so many of our behaviours and decisions. As 2016 commences, it’s a common time to reflect on the the year past and decide where we want to make changes in the next 365 days. Here are three things to keep in mind to make meaningful and lasting change for a more balanced year.
As Christmas approaches, and we’re bombarded with online and offline content about buying gifts for one another, it’s easy to become cynical about the consumerist nature of the holiday season. Gift-giving can quickly feel like a stressful, expensive obligation rather than a generous action. So why do we do it?