The intersection between browsing the Internet and mindfulness

It’s incredible how I can wake up in the morning, ready to get out of bed and seize the day — then at some point I snap out of a daze and realize I’ve been staring at my phone for 45 minutes.

Browsing the Internet is easily the least mindful thing I do. It actually does the opposite and needlessly stresses me out in my day to day existence.

I love to learn about things, and Google quenches my thirst for knowledge, but it goes on forever. Its promise of connection and endless rabbit holes of articles and videos often leave me feeling lonely, isolated from my own sense of being and full of too much information.

According to a study at the University of Southern California, the average person produces six newspapers worth of information every day — compared with just two and a half pages in the late 80s.


Is our brain really made for this overload?  The mindless scrolling through news headlines, reading strangers’ comments on Reddit, watching porn whenever we want, knowing what all of our friends are doing and comparing ourselves to them. It’s a real mind warp.

One trick I’ve found helpful is to decide ahead of time how long I’m going to browse on my phone and set an alarm to remind myself when time is up.

Choose to be mindful in what you’re doing (i.e. scheduled time to browse) and plan what specific activity you are going to do next. Obviously I don’t do this every single time I pick up my phone during the day, but it helps.

Next time you find yourself on a friend of a friend’s Instagram page looking at their photos from Puerto Vallarta six months ago, ask yourself:

“Why am I looking at this?”

“How long have I been sitting here doing this?”

“What do I need to do today?”

If you work on a computer, you can also install a website blocker like FocusMe or Timewarp for sites you have a particular problem with (for me, it’s that damn time sucker known as Reddit).

In doing so, hopefully you’ll be able to surf the web in a more conscious way (instead of drowning in it).

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