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Do you distance yourself from technology in order to be more mindful?
Sure, technology is great and can even aid you in your journey with intentional living. Without your smart phone, you wouldn't have access to guided meditation apps like Headspace.
However, your Apple Watch can allow you to be more mindful beyond meditation and breathing apps.
You want to live as intentionally as possible. You want to be in the moment. You wan to focus on the now. However, the battle between technology and mindfulness is constant.
Do you ever have this happen? You hear the familiar dings and bleeps. You whip out your device from your pocket when you feel the vibrations. You react immediately, poking and prodding at your phone until you find the offending notification.
On an even scarier note, we're all guilty of feeling a phantom vibration: where we think we feel a notification coming through, but when we grab our phones to check it, there's no notification at all (but then we get lost in the rabbit hole of scrolling through Instagram anyway).
Personally, even through my social media ban and doing my best to turn notifications off, I'm still unpleasantly drawn to my phone.
For all of these reasons, I struggled with my decision to purchase the Apple Watch.
Like you, my mantra is usually "I want to be more mindful and unplug from technology." So buying a device that brings the internet to your wrist seems very counter-intuitive.
However, you can make a lot of changes to the default settings of the watch, and you can make conscious decisions on how to use your watch and my phone.
Here are all the ways an Apple Watch can help you be even more mindful!
Breathing and meditation apps for Apple Watch
One of the default apps for the Apple Watch is the breathing app. This app reminds you to take breaks throughout the day and stop what you're doing to take a quick deep-breathing break.
Meditation apps like Headspace allow you to go through your guided meditation program on the go.
But the Apple Watch can do so much more for intentional living!
Beyond the Headspace app: change your Apple Watch Settings to be more mindful
You can use your brand spankin' new Apple Watch to be more mindful in every aspect of your life, not just when you carve out the precious 10-15 minutes for meditation with an app for guidance.
Turn off unwanted notifications
Just like with your phone, you can turn off specific notifications for your watch. Out of the box, the Apple Watch has quite a few built-in notifications, which can be very annoying.
On your iPhone, find the Watch app and turn off notifications for everything you don't need to know about right away.
Turning these notifications off may help you feel less connected to your watch:
- Reminders to do deep breathing
- Reminders to stand or move*
- Accomplishments for moving with the activity rings*
- Notifications that your friends finished a workout
- Email, Twitter, and other similar apps
*Activity notifications are helpful if you truly need reminders to get up and move around, or if you're considering buying the watch to help you meet your fitness or weight loss goals. But otherwise, they can be overwhelming.
If you wanna get super extreme, you could completely turn off your text notifications on your phone. No buzz, no ding, no notification on the lock screen (except maybe your significant other, your parents, and the person who takes care of your kids during the day).
If you're worried about being out of the loop, you can keep text notifications on your watch. Sometimes you may be off the grid for so long that you might miss something that's actually important. (For me, I have the sound turned off; I just get a gentle tap on my wrist when I get a text.)
But if you want to focus, or if you want to escape for a bit, you can turn these notifications off as well.
Turn on do not disturb and theater mode
Do not disturb is your friend. On the watch home screen, swipe up from the bottom and hit the little moon. This will stop all haptic notifications.
The notification-free zone is beautifully peaceful.
Also on the control panel screen, you can turn on theater mode (the little theater mask buddies). By default, the watch will light up every time you raise your arm or go to check your wrist. When this happens, you might be drawn to a "new text" notification that you might've otherwise ignored. With theater mode on, you're less prone to be distracted, and therefore you can be more present.
Bonus: turning theater mode on helps save battery life.
Change your relationship with your iPhone becacuse of the Apple Watch
Your watch helps you stay more connected because you have a lot of the phone functionality attached to your arm: calendar notifications, Apple Pay, etc.
Because of this, you can disconnect from your phone and find peace in not having your phone weigh down your pants or be permanently attached to your left hand.
Leave your phone in your bag
If you're walking or are otherwise occupied, say, at dinner with your friends or significant other, you're now free to leave your phone in your bag.
Studies show that phone use during social events diminish the experience of personal connections both for the phone user and for the other folks.
Even having the phone resting on the table in front of you can screw up the experience, because the anticipation that a notification will push through threatens the integrity of the interaction.
Leave your phone in your bag, or out of sight completely.
Completely leave your phone behind
If you are able, leave your phone home.
This is a lot easier if you have the cellular version of the watch. (As a mom and a woman I feel much safer leaving my phone at home or in the car knowing I have the ability to call or text for help from my watch if I need to.)
There are a lot of potential objections here, so let's explore the reasons you might not want to ditch (or hide) your phone.
"But what if I'm waiting for an important text?"
Keep text notifications on your watch. As soon as you get the text, put your watch back on do not disturb.
"But what if I get an emergency call?"
On your phone, you can change the settings so calls from your "Favorite" contacts will push through. The same will happen on your watch, even if you have do not disturb turned on.
"But then I can't take photos!"
Okay. I get this one. However, I'm going to get a little woo-woo on you here.
Your memories will serve you. Instead of going to the default of whipping your phone out to take a picture, stop what you're doing, take a beat, and focus intently on the object, incident, or people.
By doing this, you'll allow yourself to be in the moment—way more so than if you're busy trying to take the perfect photo.
And if you really want to take a picture of something? Chances are one of your friends is already snapping a photo of it.
My favorite Apple Watch hack: dictation
I can't tell you the number of times I've been out on one of my morning walks and had a great idea.
- Blog post ideas
- Solutions for complicated coding problems
- Marketing hacks for Chris's and others' businesses
- Working out an interpersonal problem in my brain
- Writing ideas
- Things I forgot previously
I can't be the only crazy person who talks to her watch, right?
The ability to dictate at any moment is so powerful. You can pick up your wrist, tap the face to wake it up, and then say, "Hey Siri, remind me to do that really awesome thing when I get home" or whatever comes to mind. Then when you're home, you can be reminded automatically to do that thing.
All in all, the Apple Watch is a huge win for intentional living.
Pin for later
The Apple Watch could be a disaster for a person who yearns to be unplugged from technology, with the threat of pings and buzzes happening every few minutes.
BUT, with a few simple tweaks and habit changes, you can enhance your life with the Apple Watch. You can have a healthy relationship with technology: technology as a tool, and not your boss.
Do you have an Apple Watch? How has it affected your life? How do you stay mindful with technology?