Technology has placed–at our touchy fingertips, no less–a multitude of attractive diversions and distractions. While sitting on an unusually long train journey the other day, my observations alerted me to the fact that everyone was puttering away on their phones.

Open this window, close that window; open this app, close that app; touch here, touch there; a one-click here and a one-click there.

Are we actually enjoying this experience or is it providing us with unprecedented levels of anxiety, worry and making us increasingly irritable?

The physical experience of the art form–attending concerts, holding a paperback book, a face-to-face conversation–are being upstaged by the addictive immediacy and excitement of cellular games, social networking and other clickbait activities.

The impact that such activity can have on the human mind is one that has increasingly become a source of worry. Mental health issues exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic and perhaps a big contributor to this trend was that we were all stuck at home and glued to our electronic devices.

To truly appreciate a work of art requires a sustained attention span. Are we forsaking the pursuit of creativity for the addictive thrill of lousy entertainment? What are we giving up as we allow our attention span to dwindle into nothingness? Insomnia and poor sleep quality is a direct result of the light that is emitted from these devices.

There are important mental techniques that we need to become aware of to keep our minds in a state of peace. These develop gradually, much the same way our skills and careers develop over the course of time. It requires that we practise this mind muscle on a daily basis.

Regard mindfulness in the same light as the automatic body functions that support healthy living: such as coordinating eye and hand movements as well as eating and sleeping.

Concentration

Concentration is a state of mind in which our full and undivided attention is focused on a single activity. Our concentration has always been subject to a number of disturbing distractions.

In today’s tech-savvy world, the number of distractions that we have to contend with have multiplied. While we now live in a terrific age of connectivity, the fallout has been that since there are so many distractions, we have conditioned ourselves to move on from one distraction to another quickly and rapidly.

As we habitually train our minds to jump around like a yo-yo, after a while, the excitement of jumping to and fro becomes an entrenched pattern that becomes an addiction.

Reading, like music, is one of those activities that demands comprehension on a deep level. So if you want to become proficient at the ability to read literature, poetry, academic works and so on; you need to be able to concentrate for long periods of time. The same could be said for devotional activities like: meditation, prayer and worship.

To fully reap the benefits of such activities, focus is not only a vital ingredient; it is irreplaceable. To take things to the next level–to memorise and to comprehend the complex–requires even more concentration to allow the mind to function at an optimal level.

Patience and persistence is key to mastering the mind. It is important to establish patterns in your life that contribute to the effectiveness of your focus. But we will never get there by becoming clickbait.

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