How to be more mindful in a hyper-connected world

Dennis Sparks

My last few posts have addressed the challenges educators face of being being fully present in the moment to whatever they are doing in their hyper-connected worlds.

Readers interested in a fuller explanation of the costs of their inattention will want to read this article by Wendy Hasenkamp. She writes:

[A] recent study by Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert sampled over 2,000 adults during their day-to-day activities and found that 47 percent of the time, their minds were not focused on what they were currently doing. Even more striking, when people’s minds were wandering, they reported being less happy.

For those who simply wish to learn how to be more attentive, Henrik Edberg’s blog offers simple, practical tools for increasing their present-moment awareness. He describes the problem this way:

“One of the most common habits that make life miserable is to not be where you are. What do I mean by that? That your body is right here, right now. But that your thoughts are elsewhere in time and space.”

(A synonym for mindfulness in the classroom might be “student engagement.”)

Edberg recommends the cultivation of three habits to counter that natural human tendency:

1. Slow down.

2. Tell yourself: Now I am… [name the thing you intend to be doing]

3. Disrupt your thoughts + quickly reconnect with the here and now. (Edberg recommends shouting “stop” in your mind when you become aware of your wandering thoughts.)

I encourage you to read Edberg’s post in its entirety to get a deeper understanding of the tools he offers and to subscribe to his blog to further develop your understanding and skillfulness.

What works for you? How do you interrupt the digital devices and other challenges that interfere with your ability to be fully present in the moment to family members, friends, and colleagues?

4 Responses to “How to be more mindful in a hyper-connected world”

  1. 1 Monique Beels September 23, 2013 at 6:34 am

    I practice mindfullness daily at work. I take a deep breath, remind myself that I am here and it is now. I do this especially before a difficult meeting or problem solving. My mantra is: I love because that is who I want to be. At work it is loving myself, and being the leader and person I want to be. This prevents me from falling into the trap of reacting in a way that others might want or to being less than the self I want to be. It keeps me on mission.

  2. 3 Jeffery Robinson September 23, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Dennis: As I follow your posts on this topic, I can’t help but make the connection to a skill that you talk about often: committed listening. When I am formulating my response or interrupting others, my mind wanders. By forcing myself to listen carefully from the beginning until the end (which sometimes requires much effort on my part), I feel myself returning to the moment (aka teacher engagement!) It feels the same way when I resist looking at my vibrating iPhone in a meeting. Thanks for helping me to stay engaged in the present.

    • 4 Dennis Sparks September 23, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Thanks, Jeffery, for making the important connection between mindfulness and exquisite listening. A great reminder for all of us!

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