The Dang Good Show

Mindful Tech: Balancing Digital Life with Real Connections

January 19, 2024 Christine 'C-DANG' Dang Episode 14
The Dang Good Show
Mindful Tech: Balancing Digital Life with Real Connections
The Dang Good Show
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Show Notes Transcript

Dive into the world of 'Mindful Tech' with Christine and learn how to balance your digital life with real, meaningful connections. This episode unpacks the paradox of digital connectivity, offers strategies for an effective digital detox, and guides you in forging authentic relationships in an increasingly online world. Learn practical tips for practicing mindfulness in the digital age and reflect on your digital habits for improved well-being. Get ready to rediscover the joy of real-life interactions and find balance in your tech usage.

“The most powerful forms of connections are love and belonging - Both a huge need for men, women and children.” - Bréne Brown


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Christine Dang (CD): Welcome to The Dang Good Show! I’m C-DANG, your host. 

Today, we’re diving into a topic that’s super relevant for all of us: “Mindful Tech: Balancing Digital Life with Real Connections.” How do we maintain genuine human connections in a world where we’re constantly plugged in? Let’s unravel how we can stay connected in this digital era without losing touch with the real world and the real us. Grab your favorite drink, get comfy, and let’s get into this together!

Segment 1: The Digital Paradox

CD: So, let’s chat about our digital lives. It’s a bit of a paradox, isn’t it? Our digital tools are meant to connect us, but sometimes they do the opposite. We’re more connected than ever, yet sometimes we feel so distant. A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that high usage of social media increases feelings of loneliness and depression. In other words, too much social media can actually make us feel lonelier. So, how do we use technology mindfully? 

First up, screen time. How much time are you really spending glued to your screen? I mean, I have an iPhone, and there’s an app that gives me a weekly rundown of my screen time. It’s kind of an eye-opener! I’m pretty sure Android has the same type of app. Have you used it? Makes you think, right? For me, the goal is always to reduce screen time and find things to do like listening to music, reading, cleaning,  going out for walks, or exercising.  I remind myself that doing those things will prolong my life, and scrolling won’t. Lol. 

A few times, my weekly report stated that I went over a high percentage. My initial reaction was shock, like, ‘Wow, really?’, then I reflected on what I did over the week to confirm those numbers. And saw that I wasn’t reading as much as the previous week, so I had to be mindful to ensure I read before bed. What do you think is a healthy amount of screen time for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. So, I Googled: What's a healthy amount of screen time for adults? Experts say adults should limit screen time outside of work to less than two hours per day. 

Now, setting digital boundaries – that’s a big one. You know what I try to do? In the mornings, I resist immediately grabbing my phone and diving into emails or social media. It’s tough, but I tell myself, ‘No phone until I finish my morning routine.’ It’s about creating those no-phone zones or times. Simple but effective. What do you think? Can you set up something similar that works for you?

And we need to be making space for real, face-to-face time. There’s nothing like catching up with friends and family in person. I’m super grateful that my friends and I make it a point to meet up, especially when someone’s in town or for birthday get-togethers. It’s these moments that really count. How about you? Are you finding ways to connect offline? 

I’m going to share with you a note I wrote down a few years back, it says, “The most powerful forms of connections are love and belonging - Both a huge need for men, women and children”, Man, that right there inspired me to make more of an effort for inclusiveness - going the extra mile to help or make others feel loved. Let me read that again, “The most powerful forms of connections are love and belonging - Both a huge need for men, women and children’  

I’m pretty sure I got it from one of  Brené Brown’s books: Daring Greatly

How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Highly recommended by the way. It got me to look deeper within and become more vulnerable. I’ll leave links under this episode’s description from wherever platform you are listening to. 

Segment 2: The Art of Digital Detox

CD: Ever thought about hitting pause on your digital life? Yep, I’m talking about a digital detox. Stanford University’s researchers are nodding their heads to this one, saying that stepping back from our screens now and then is a big thumbs up for our mental health. If you’re wondering, ‘How in the world do I start a digital detox?’ – I’m here with some friendly advice.

Let’s start simple. Choose a time frame that feels right for you – maybe just a day or a weekend to begin with. It’s like taking a mini-holiday from the buzzing and beeping of the digital world. Trust me, I tried going cold turkey for a week, and let’s just say, it was a bit ambitious. So start small and work your way up.

Now, about letting your digital circle know. It’s pretty interesting to think about their reactions when you say, ‘Hey folks, going off the radar for a bit!’ I had a friend who did just that – posted a simple note on Instagram about taking a break. You know what? When I read it, something clicked inside me. It was like someone flipped a switch, and I thought, ‘Hey, that’s a brilliant idea.’ I put down my phone, and my screen time dropped like a rock that whole week. It’s amazing how one little post can inspire a ripple effect of digital detoxing!

The real magic happens when you rediscover offline activities. What’s something you absolutely love that doesn’t need constant scrolling or social media? For me, I'm a crafty type of person and would either make something, paint or write, but lately, it’s been all about diving back into learning languages – Korean and Japanese, to be exact. It feels incredible to reconnect with an old passion. Whether it’s rekindling hobbies or soaking in the beauty of nature, it’s about tapping back into the joy of just being, of living in the moment.

So, how about it? Why not try a digital detox and see how it refreshes your mind and spirit? It might just be the reset button you’ve been looking for.

Segment 3: Cultivating Real Connections

CD: Let’s dive into the heart of what it means to cultivate real, meaningful connections. It’s not just about the time we spend together; it’s about infusing those moments with genuine presence and depth. Harvard Business Review hits the nail on the head by saying emotional bonds are the foundation of strong relationships. So, how do we nurture and deepen these bonds?

Picture this: a conversation where you’re completely present, with no distractions, no buzzing phones or flickering screens. Think about how different that feels compared to a chat constantly interrupted by technology. It’s like comparing night and day, isn’t it? Being fully present creates a connection that’s not only deeper but feels more authentic and true.

Active listening is another key ingredient. It’s more than just waiting for your turn to speak; it’s about truly absorbing the words and emotions of the other person. Try to remember a time when you really listened – I mean, deeply listened. Didn’t it feel like your bond grew stronger and more meaningful?

Now, let’s get real about vulnerability. Opening up and sharing our true selves – that’s where ordinary conversations transform into something extraordinary. It’s about lowering our shields and letting someone see our authentic selves.

But hey, if the idea of opening up feels daunting, remember to take it step by step and feel the vibe. Matt Kahn once said, ‘People can only meet you, as deeply as they’ve met themselves.’ let me repeat that. 

This speaks volumes about self-awareness. As I’ve grown and learned in my journey, I’ve noticed my circle becoming more intimate, smaller in other words, filled with those who resonate with my values and so deep in connection with themselves. 

Opening up isn’t just about others; it’s a journey within. Learning to accept my needs and desires, and cultivating self-respect was challenging but transformative. As my self-awareness grew, so did my patience with myself and others. And you know what? The kinder and more compassionate my internal dialogue became, the more love and compassion I found myself extending to others. It’s like this beautiful ripple effect that starts from within.

In the end, building and nurturing connections is all about these simple yet profound acts – being fully there, listening with our whole hearts, and sharing openly. These threads weave together the fabric of strong, heartfelt relationships.

Segment 4: Mindfulness in a Digital Age

CD: Mindfulness is this incredible tool, and guess what? It’s not just for meditation – it’s a secret weapon for navigating our hyper-connected digital world. A study from the University of Miami dropped this truth bomb: mindfulness can seriously dial down the stress of being constantly ‘on.’ It’s as simple as checking in with yourself. I often ask myself, ‘Why am I reaching for my phone?’ Remember, when you’re scrolling, it’s worth asking, ‘Is this really adding value to my day?’

Now, let’s hop onto a time machine and travel back to the late 1970s at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Here, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn is busy cooking up something revolutionary – the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. This isn’t just meditation; it’s a fusion of mindfulness and yoga, and it’s been a game-changer in the stress and pain management game.

Imagine a world where stress is no longer the boss of you. That’s the world MBSR is creating. Research shows this program slashes stress levels – so long, cortisol, hello, serenity! 

It’s been a game-changer for emotional health, too. Think less depression, less anxiety, and more joy. It’s like a mood makeover. And for those who love a mental workout, meditation is your gym. It sharpens focus, boosts attention, and improves memory. 

But we’re not done yet! Meditation is also a heart-hugger. It’s about promoting heart health, lowering blood pressure, and even beefing up your immune system. Chronic pain? Meditation steps in as a gentle yet powerful tool to manage and alleviate it.

For a deep dive into this world, grab a copy of ‘Full Catastrophe Living’ by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It’s more than a book – it’s a journey into the heart of MBSR and all its life-changing benefits.

And speaking of life-changing, especially for non-readers, let me tell you about Headspace. This app isn’t just part of my routine; it’s part of my life. And no, this isn’t an ad – just pure, unadulterated love for the app. Every morning, post-tooth brushing, Headspace and I have a date. And it’s transformative.

Starting with just a week of Headspace can open your eyes to a new way of thinking. Notice the shift from day one to day seven, and if you’re digging it, extend it to two weeks, then a month, and so on. Setting these mini-goals helped keep me focused, and maybe it’ll work its magic for you too.

So, wrapping it all up, the world of meditation is vast, scientifically solid, and undeniably life-enhancing. It’s more than a practice – it’s a journey to a more vibrant, healthier, happier you. How amazing is that!

Segment 5: Reflecting on Our Digital Habits

CD: Being mindful and reflecting is key to understanding our digital habits. So, next time, Ask yourself:

  1. Does my digital usage align with my values and goals?
  2. How do I feel after spending time online or after a long scroll?
  3. What small changes can I make for a healthier digital life?

A healthier digital life can be a language app to help me learn Korean or the Headspace app for meditation. 


CD: And that’s our chat for today, dear friends. Balancing our digital and real-life connections is like walking a tightrope, but it’s totally doable with a bit of mindfulness and self-love. By being mindful of our digital habits and nurturing real-world connections, we can live a more fulfilling and balanced life

 Let’s use technology as a tool to enhance our lives, not to overshadow them. Thanks for tuning in and sharing this space with me. Remember to cherish those real-life moments and stay mindfully connected. 

Until next time on The Dang Good Show, stay real, stay you. Much love, CDANG, signing off!