Tips for Achieving Balance and Mindfulness

March 3, 2023

inDeema Khalil (she/her/hers), Low Entropy Volunteer Writer

With technology being an ever-present part of our lives, it’s important to acknowledge the impact it has on our mental and physical health. The constant stream of notifications and endless access to information can lead to overuse. This manifests in a variety of physical symptoms such as eye strain, headaches, and poor posture. It can also affect our mental well-being, causing stress, anxiety and isolation. As a result, the concept of digital wellness emerged, aiming to promote a balanced and healthy relationship with technology.

Digital wellness refers to the awareness and management of the time and attention we dedicate to our devices and the digital world. It encompasses various aspects of our digital lives, such as screen time, social media use and digital mindfulness.

Throughout the years, I’ve made it my mission to discover the most effective tools and lifestyle modifications that enable me to minimise my tech use and maintain a healthy lifestyle. I would like to share with you the top four things that I’ve experimented with and have yielded the most significant positive outcomes.

  1. Limit distractions with a habit tracker

There are a variety of habit trackers that aim to limit distractions and track progress. My favourite habit tracker is Flora. This is a digital wellness app that helps you reduce screen time and increase productivity. It allows you to set a timer and focus on your work without getting distracted by your phone. As you set the timer, a virtual seed begins to grow. However, if you exit the app, your virtual plant will die. The app also allows you to set goals and collaborate with friends to grow a virtual garden. If any of your friends leave the app, everyone’s plant gets killed. Additionally, the app offers a betting feature where you can place a bet with your timer. If you exit the app, your bid amount will be donated towards planting a real tree in Africa or East Asia. This app provides a unique and gamified approach to help users reduce screen time and increase productivity while also contributing to a better planet.

  1. Mute your notifications

It can be a challenging task to resist the temptation of checking your phone screens constantly. This behaviour disrupts your ability to be fully present and can lead to a vicious cycle of checking notifications, going into apps, becoming absorbed, closing the phone, and repeating the process whenever the next notification pops up. To break this cycle, the most effective solution is to go to your phone settings and turn off all notifications, or only keep the essential ones like calls and text messages. With notifications turned off, your screen will no longer be a source of distraction, and you’ll think twice before unlocking your phone.

  1. Discover yourself through journaling

By scrolling through social media, you are exposed to a multitude of perspectives and realities. While this exposure can be enriching in some ways, it can also prevent you from getting to know your unique self, separate from external influences. That’s why self-discovery is so important. In order to discover and develop a unique sense of self, you need to take a step back from digital distractions and to look inward. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through journaling. It’s one thing to think, yet a completely different thing to write down what you’re thinking. That is because the many scattered thoughts circling in your mind are volatile and in constant motion, while handwriting is stable and permanent. Starting the habit of putting your thoughts down on paper connects your many dispersed ideas into a coherent text, which in turn provides clarity and reduces stress.

Some people have the misconception that journaling is only for narrating day-to-day life. But you can get a lot more intentional with it. You can ask yourself concrete questions about your interests, your values, and your likes and dislikes. You can create prompts and discuss them. Use your journaling time as an opportunity to bring your true personality to life, to explore and express your opinions, and to gain confidence in what makes you YOU, outside of the digital realm.

  1. Find hobbies

Discovering your hobbies can be a fun and rewarding experience. A hobby can be anything that brings you joy, whether it’s a physical activity, a creative outlet, or a way to learn something new. To find your hobbies, it’s important to start by exploring your interests. What are you naturally drawn to? What do you enjoy talking about or thinking about? What activities do you look forward to doing in your free time? Once you have a list of your interests, it’s time to start trying new things. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the chance to yet. You can also consider taking a class, joining a club, or volunteering for an organisation that aligns with your interests. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different things until you find what you truly enjoy. Remember, hobbies don’t have to be serious or time-consuming. It can be something as simple as cooking, going on picnics or listening to your favourite podcast while taking a walk. Don’t limit yourself. The key is to find something that brings you joy and helps you unwind and recharge. So, take some time to reflect, experiment, and have fun as you discover your hobbies.

After all, digital wellness is a crucial aspect of our life that should not be overlooked. By setting boundaries, managing screen time, and prioritising self-reflection, we can significantly improve our well-being and achieve digital balance.

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