I think we’ve all experienced that awkward moment, when you’re speaking to someone and the cell phone rings. For a moment one person glances at their phone, while the other wonders if they’re about to be trumped by a phone call.

No one likes being ignored in the midst of a cell conversation. 

It’s rude. Nevertheless, this is the reality of our 21st century lifestyle, where technology constantly competes for our attention. Social media, cell phones, emails and iGadgets.

It’s hard to keep track of it all, and it can be incredibly stressful. Twenty years ago, we did not face the same challenges of managing our time and energy.

We live in unprecedented times of distraction and stimulation. We are connected 24/7 — and oddly, disconnected.

It isn’t just the plethora of tech offerings that keep us feeling preoccupied and divided, it is our relationship to these devices that keep us wanting more.

What can we do to shift our relationship to the technology that surrounds us? How can we make technology work for us and not the other way around?

The good news is we can use technology as a tool to raise our awareness. We can do this by paying attention and asking ourselves questions about the way we use our technology.

Just notice: Do you hold your breath when you’re working on the computer? Do you notice how often you feel compelled to check your cell phone?

Here are seven ways you can practice mindfulness with your technology platforms. 

  • Have you ever noticed how quickly you respond to the phone ringing?

  • From the moment it rings, do you instantly feel the need to respond right away?

  • Does a ringing phone knock you out of your present moment or disconnect you from the people you’re with?

Try taking three deep breaths and center yourself before answering the phone. Experience a moment of presence before answering the phone. Notice what it’s like to pause before your answer.

  • Do you ever make a bee-line to your email first thing in the morning?

  • Do you feel the need to constantly check your email?

From the moment you think of checking your email, try waiting 1-2 minutes, or take 10 breaths before checking your email. Notice if this is a challenging practice for you.

During those 60 seconds, become highly aware of your breath, feeling state, what you’re thinking.

  • Are you impatient, anxious, relaxed? What are you looking for in your email?

Pay close attention to your bodily sensations.

  • When you’re reading your Facebook newsfeed, WeChat Moments, etc., how do you feel?

    • Notice the thoughts you’re having as you read each news item.

  • Do you feel neutral, judgment, happiness arising?

    • Notice your emotions and your feeling state.

Which news items bother you most? Which ones do you enjoy the most? Where do your feelings arise from?

  • How do you feel before and after you check social media?

  • Do you always feel the need to wear your cell phone?

On occasion, practice leaving your cell phone at home, or turn it off. Notice the way you feel when you don’t have access to your cell phone.

  • Do you feel naked, disconnected?

  • Do feelings of insecurity or anxiety arise?

  • Do you feel out of control?

Be aware of your true experience without any judgment.

  • Notice your energetic state as you work on your computer.

  • What is the cadence of your breath as you’re surfing the net?

  • The quality of your inhale? The quality of your exhale?

  • Do you feel rushed and pressured, or calm and at ease?

  • What helps you relax while you’re working on your computer?

See what helps you to breathe easy while you’re on your computer.

  • When you are waiting at a stoplight or for a friend, do you feel the need to check your cell phone?

  • Where does the need arise from?

  • How do you feel when you don’t check your cell phone?

  • Are you uncomfortable without having something to do?

  • What would it be like to simply take three breaths and allow yourself to relax without doing?

  • What helps you to drop into the present moment?

  • How often do you feel the need to check your cell phone?

  • How do you feel when you receive a text or voicemail?

  • How do you feel when you don’t receive any messages?


Be fully aware of what is happening to your energy before, during and after you are using your cell. See how detailed you can become in your own awareness of using your cell phone.

Track your feelings, your mental state and your thoughts. It also helps to write them down.

Some of these exercises may seem impossible at first, but you can begin by simply planting a seed of intention: to be more aware when you’re using your technology.

A simple pause can make a difference. Be light-hearted when you are practicing these exercises. I am often amused by the way I get sucked into social media, and how seriously I take myself while I’m on my computer. I do what I can to raise my own awareness around my use of technology and not to beat myself up about it.

Technology, like anything, is inherently neutral and can serve a multitude of purposes. It can be used to escape, hurt others, or even raise your consciousness.


Shanghai Mindfulness was founded by Brandon Mehrgut. With over 1,500 members in China, Shanghai Mindfulness represents a community made by the people for the people.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us.

上海正念由Brandon Mehrgut创立,现已在中国有1500名成员。上海正念是由一群志同道合者建立并服务于其他志同道合的人。