• Carmel Farnan

Does Technology fit into Mindfulness?

Firstly, it's important not to demonise technology; after all you wouldn't be able to read this article if it wasn't for technology. It's imperative to distinguish between technology usage and it's overuse, where it becomes that, in fact, technology is using you.

At this early stage in the research into technology usage it appears that technology is addictive. This addiction becomes ingrained in a threefold process. The first is that a 'cue' happens which triggers the release of dopamine. This cue is simply the sound of an incoming text, email alert or spotting that you have a new Facebook notification. And so, the second stage of 'hooking' begins. You don't yet know who that contact is from or what it contains. The urgency you feel to check out that message is fuelled by the dopamine hormone. By their nature these social media messages are short and don't give the full picture. So you get involved in texting back to find out more and so the dopamine cycle of reward continues.

The next thing that happens is that you become constantly involved in being distracted by incoming 'ping' alerts which is draining and also divides your attention. Your brain becomes like the computer that has too many tabs open. Ping by ping your energy is being drained away.

The solution to this is to turn off incoming alerts and only check messages and email periodically. Even better, why not try giving yourself a total technology break for a few hours or even a day at weekends. You will definitely notice a feeling of calm that you may have forgotten exists.

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