It’s never been easier to keep in touch. But in an always-on culture, it’s harder than ever to break free and unplug. With an endless stream of information at our fingertips, we start to lose touch with the real world. With our true selves.

In this chaotic time our attention is increasingly being kidnapped by screens, controlling our focus, our motivation, and above all, our priorities. This addiction transforms our identities, for better or worse. Now, more than ever, the world is looking for simpler, less stressful and more meaningful moments in life. We are seeking greater clarity and and a deeper appreciation for all that really matter. But how?

1. Put Everyone On Pause

“Sometimes our smartphones are our friends, sometimes they seem like our lovers, and sometimes they’re our dope dealers.” In an article written in Wired Magazine, Nicholas Thompson references an awakening Ted Talk from product design and ethicist Tristan Harris on how better tech could protect us from distraction. The answer? Settings on our iPhone like Do Not Disturb are there for a reason. You deserve it, and aren’t offending anyone. Why not wait, and give your full attention to your friend or co-worker when you are available? You never deserve to feel bad about living completely in the real moment with your friends family and loved ones.

2. Choose The Apps You Use

Lost in a sea full of apps? It’s time to make a conscious choice about which apps we choose to use — and of course… there’s an app for that. Tech companies like Moment have created apps that track every time you pick up your phone and which apps you spend the most time using. Android users who have downloaded Off Time can now set their phone to lock and block any apps from being used while they study or are in a meeting. In some cases, it may be time to evaluate and let go of certain apps that are harmful to us. Create a list of the applications you use and delete any that do not bring some sort of benefit or peace to your mind.

3. Exercise Your Mind

“When we pull our phone out of our pocket, we’re playing a slot machine to see what notifications we have received. When we swipe down our finger to scroll the Instagram feed, we’re playing a slot machine to see what photo comes next.” (Tristan Harris) Apps are built to attract our minds to meaningless stimulation. It is our job to avoid that draining temptation and instead dedicate time to meaningful use of our minds. Many people spend hours a week working out at the gym, however it is critical to commit similar energy to exercising our minds. Try practicing new daily habits such as ten minutes of breathing and meditation.

4. Take Time To breathe.

Sometimes, the best solutions are right under our nose— a built-in stress reliever inside each and every one of us. Breathing. If you are just starting your journey in simplifying your digital world, one of the easiest habits to develop is mindful breathing. Your body releases 70% of its toxins through breathing. Breath connects our mind and body — it’s meditation for people who have never meditated. Try a new daily practice of mindful breathing — a simple and easy first step towards decluttering and living your life in the moment.

To learn more about mindful breathing, check out Seven Benefits of Mindful Breathing

Originally published at