In today’s fast-paced world, it can be difficult to focus on the now.We struggle to settle down, appreciate the present, and even fail to give our attention to the people we spend time with. But what are the consequences and how can we get better at mindful living? Dr. Nancy Darling is a Psychology professor at Oberlin College and has spent 25 years studying social relationships in young people. I turned to her for answers on the multitasking versus mindfulness problem.

You talk about people chasing happiness and failing to see what’s in front of them.  Do most people spend too much time focusing on the future? 

No. I think they just get distracted by different parts of the now.

Do you think millennials are a generation of multitaskers? How has multitasking affected our ability to feel appreciation?

I think humans are a species of multitaskers. What has changed for all of us – and millenials probably most of all – is how we multitask. We have inexhaustible access to information and potential distractions. But we – culturally and individually – haven’t learned yet how to access that information judiciously. I read a quote a few months ago about the election that said that reporters’ jobs used to be about providing access to information no one else had. Now there is so much information, the job of the best reporters is to curate information to help us separate out what is worth highlighting and paying attention to.

The parents and grandparents of millennials grew up multitasking too – but it was radio and television, newspapers! Raising kids while trying to keep a house and chat with your friends is multitasking. What makes multitasking different now is the characteristics of those distractions: screens connected to the internet.

Screens are a sensory desert. You get words and visual images, but there’s no smell, no taste, the sound and even movement is pretty limited.  So they titillate but don’t satisfy us. We’re always looking for more.

We’re set up to look for novelty. Watching grass grow is not that exciting. We pay attention to the swish in the grass that tells us there’s a snake. We look to Twitter and Facebook and clickbait like gamblers pulling the lever on a slot machine, hoping to see something that makes us say ‘wow’.

We are constantly thinking about an audience. I think this is so, so important. I go on a walk and see a lovely flower and instead of looking at it and moving on, I pull out my phone, snap a picture of it, and post it on Instagram because my focus is on what my friends and followers will think about the thing I just saw. I am seeing it through their eyes, not through my own. Everything is once removed.

In what ways do our social interactions suffer when we get distracted?

It’s really annoying talking to someone who is playing with their phone. When we do it the people we’re with feel the same way. If you’re not interested enough in the conversation you’re in to pay attention to it, maybe you should develop better conversational skills. It takes practice. Is the person you’re texting really that much more interesting?

On the other hand, looking at a screen together is a shared experience that can be a great bonding experience. We want to share things with people we care about.

How does not living in the moment affect our mental health? Does it have any impact on physical health as well?

Image from: www.goodmorningquote.com

Psychologically, I know for myself, when I have been in very dark places it is noticing the small details of my life that let me hold on. Noticing that coffee still smells good. Feeling the press of a button on my fingers and hearing the ding of an elevator as the door opens. It takes me out of my head, which can be a good thing. Anhedonia is the inability to feel pleasure and is one of the major symptoms of depression. We need to foster our ability to enjoy life. It’s like a muscle and gets better with exercise.

On Saturdays I get up, I open my mail and read the paper on my computer. I catch up on work and check all my networks. I blog. By five o’clock I typically have walked fewer than 1000 steps. I’ve gotten up to eat lunch. No, that’s not good for you. Being in the real world requires more movement. It’s even bad for your eyes, because they’re always focusing around two feet away. They don’t get the exercise they need to be able to focus at distance.

I see that you studied family dynamics in different countries. With that experience, would you say that a lack of mindfulness is cultural? Are Americans less appreciative because of our fast-paced lifestyles?

I don’t think it’s that we have a particularly fast paced lifestyle – certainly not compared to other people living in any urban environment. I think people in the US tend to be less focused on building and maintaining social and community ties with the people around them than is true in most other countries. We spend less time with family. We spend less time socializing with friends or joining organizations that do things together. Writing this, I’m wondering if one of the reasons people have been so mobilized the last few months by marches and political organizing is that they’re rediscovering the joy and power of being with people doing things in the real world. Grabbing a sandwich is different than texting.

On the other hand, virtual friendships can be a lifeline to people. We can keep contact with people who have moved and create new communities of people online who truly care about one another.  

What can we do to stay in the moment and not give in to distractions?

Pay attention. It’s not more complicated than that.  Specifically, pay attention to your senses. The screen world focuses on words and things that tickle our brain. Get into the habit of noticing how your shower feels, how your coffee smells, how cars sound when they shoot through puddles. You don’t have to get all meditative about it – just notice. Five seconds is a long time.

Flow is when you are fully immersed in a task, usually found in self-actualized individuals.

Distractions are harder. It takes discipline to stay on task. I know I have gotten into the habit of switching screens every time I finish something. It started by checking the internet or getting coffee when I finished writing a section. Then it was a paragraph. Now I feel the pull after every completed thought. The key is not to act on that impulse, remember what you’re trying to get done, and turn your mind back to the task. After even a few hours you’ll remember how good it feels to stay focused. The temptation to look away gets less. You get into that state that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls ‘flow’ where you’re in that great space where you’re completely into what you’re doing. You don’t get there if you keep checking Twitter.

 

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The takeaway is this: it really is the little things in life that add up. Just taking a moment of our time to consciously notice our surroundings can help keep us present and involved in the real world. When we live in the moment we allow ourselves to live a happier, mentally and physically healthier life.

References:

Darling, N. (2017, June 4). Chasing Hapiness Steals Joy. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/thinking-about-kids/201706/chasing-happiness-steals-joy

34 Comments

  1. This woman absolutly right. We really don’t move enough during our day, especially when you are still going to school. We also do not spend enough time with the people around us, because we are always on our phones. I get that there are people who we are only able to contact through or phone or in general the internet, in fact, most of my friends live far away from me, which is why I’m mostly on my mobile. But we need to get away from the internet sometimes to acknowledge the people around us. I for myself will now try to mind my surrounding a bit more and see what it changes.

  2. As a person who spends a lot time on internet I started to feel guilty. I don’t even want to think about the amount of time and the wonderful moments I have wasted just by not focusing on the real thing. The fact that we’re all almost possessed by these screens and the virtual world is really scary. All these modern conveniences such as smartphones and the social media do, of course, have their pros but sometimes it seems that the cons overcome the positive features.

    For instance, I have grown into the culture of social media and it has been a part of my life for at least ten years. The social media is an constantly developing thing and it can easily absorb us into it’s boundless world. As our virtual world has grown and developed it has taken over more and more space in our every day lives. Ten or nine years ago I spent maximum five hours a week on internet; today I can easily spend half of my day on social media. I feel like we’re living in a bubble, an illusion. We feel that the things going on internet and the virtual world are more important than the things that happen in real world. See, the world of social media is constantly changing – the phenomena are temporary and it really takes an effort to keep up with it. It’s easy to think that the ordinary phenomena, for instance the taste of coffee or the sound of a car passing by, are always there. They’re (probably) not going anywhere. Sadly, even I have the habit of taking those beautiful, simple moments for granted.

    I think that living in the moment is so hard for us partly because of the society we live in. We’re taught to think further and plan our futures; in the moment the only thing that matters is the things we do to achieve that future we have been planning so hard. This is an important subject and so many people should read this.

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for your comment! It was an honor to interview Nancy Darling and a very eye-opening experience for me as well. It is always fascinating to hear from other people about their perspective on things like this and the topic of mindfulness is a particularly valuable thing to consider.

  3. Nancy Darling brings up a fair point. In a world where there’s the utmost pressure to take advantage of every single opportunity given to us to be happy and satisfied with what we’ve achieved, we seem to have become entrapped with the chase of happiness rather than its presence in the very moment. We ignore so much because we’re not even in the moment, as the interviewed suggests, because there simply isn’t an opportunity to do so. Everything around us conditions us to look around for the most appealing of images, the loudest of sounds, trying to grab our attention at every possible turn, and yet we don’t even notice it. We accept these terms because that’s the way everyone seems to function, they just settle and seek to catch up with the world that never seems to stop spinning. Yet, there’s so much to be found in the smallest of things! Positive psychology has offered methods to help us seek happiness and emotional fulfillment in the present, by focusing our attention towards our present actions, thoughts and present activities, reminding ourselves of what we’re grateful for at the moment and helping us remember the best part of each passing day. It’s harder than it sounds, of course, but if we wish to find true happiness and meaning in each second that we can recall being conscious, we must remember to look inward first before we look out: the meaning of life, what makes you smile and helps you fall asleep soundly isn’t a motivational poster on Instagram, it’s you and you alone, and your moments will be as relevant as you make them be, simply by being more “present” in your presence.

    1. Thanks so much for reading and responding! I can completely relate when she talks about taking a photo for Instagram instead of just appreciating things for ourselves.

  4. Ms. Darling is spot on with what she says in this article. Our growing inability to pay attention for long periods of time combined with an increasing amount of distractions is immensely increasing people’s anxiety. This is one of the many sources of the widespread anxiety people feel. Alan Watts talks about this in many of his books and philosophical talks. One of his main points is that we need to learn to just “be”. If you think about your typical day, there is rarely a moment where you are not thinking about something / analyzing your life. Although it is difficult, I think we need to learn to take any moment which does not require thought, and learn to appreciate what is around us. Take time to stop thinking / worrying about your future or past, and appreciate what you currently have. I’m not saying to become brain dead or not worry about the future, but to take time to feel this: “My life may not be perfect right now, but life is incredible and it is a pleasure to be alive in this moment.” If you don’t, you’ll just be continually striving for something better and better, never to be satisfied. Our human appetites can never be completely satisfied, and if we become a slave to them we will find ourselves in a constant state of unhappiness.

  5. Maybe it’s hypocritical of me to say that it’s time to unplug after reading an interview and commenting on it on the web, but I will anyways! I think that communication has, in many ways, been aided by technology and social media. I, for one, will be far more eloquent in leaving this comment than I would have been if you had shown me this interview and asked me to have a conversation about it. I can branch out from my bubble of suburban America and hear the opinions of people from all different backgrounds. Online communities have been known to help numerous people, including people questioning their sexuality or suffering from mental illness.

    And yet, spending all day online simply isn’t fulfilling. I know that when I fall down an hours long YouTube black hole, I come out feeling tired and like I’ve lost an afternoon, whereas an afternoon spent with friends is a more engaging experience. Noticing the little things is an excellent suggestion on how to be a more in tune. Whenever I feel like a robot after spending too much time on my phone I will walk around a little, talk to my family, have a glass of water, or sit outside. These things allow me to feel things – the stretch of my legs, the connection with my family, the cold water down my throat, the cool summer breeze.

    When Darling mentioned that rather than enjoying a flower she will take a picture of it to share in Instagram I realized that, to some extent, I do the same thing. I will do something or take a picture with the express intent of posting it online for others to see. With that as my motivation, the action becomes a performance, rather than something I do for myself.

    All in all, we all must step back and unplug. Mindless scrolling, while entertaining for a time, is not fulfilling or engaging. It’s important to have real interaction with real people to ground ourselves. Thank you for conducting and sharing this interview!

  6. It’s fascinating how social media and the internet in general can impact the way we think. But I don’t think social media and the internet should be blamed because people are not being present. The way I see it, it’s not an external problem but an internal one.Why do I say this? There are always distractions around, and they always were. What I’m trying to say is, yes spending too much time on the internet is bad for both mental an physical health, yes there is too much information and misinformation, people can get distracted by the simplest things. But my question is why? Has life became boring ? Is the person talking to you while you play on the phone uninteresting, or do you just have bad manners ? To answer my previous question, no life isn’t boring, and the second you acknowledge the buzzing of bumblebees or as Nancy said the smell of coffee you will know what I’m talking about… I think the biggest question that should be answered is what are you running from and why? You should’t focus on the outside, but on the inside and ask yourself why am I living like this? Why do I spend ten hours on the internet? Or whatever the distraction is. By answering that question only for you, will bring you a new life. A high quality life, because if there is only now, then you will enjoy every second of it doing the things you love and the thing that makes you fulfilled. And then you will know that today is a grand gift not to be wasted.

  7. First of all, I loved how the article is perfectly written with an introduction, a reference and the sequence of the interview. Second, It’s true we should start unplugging ourselves from all of these distractions and catch up with the life moving on around us. I think the more engaaged we are with Facebook, twitter and others, the more disconnected we will be with ourselves. Those distractions were intended to connect us together but they indeed left us alone in the end. In my opinion, people are becoming more independent in their attitudes but more dependent in their ways of thinking. Nowadays, you can find people answering questions based on what they saw others sharing on Facebook spreading false news wherever they go. But they are leaving their families, taking absurd decisions feeling free to do so but deep down there they are doing it because they are affected by people they follow all over the social media. In the end, I hope I can start appreciating things around me that doesn’t need a wifi and a screen to see and feel.

  8. The structure of this article is amazing, it felt incredibly natural to read and comprehend. I loved the exchange and questions! They all managed to touch on very different sides of the topic while still keeping it related and easy to understand. This perspective is a rare treat, and I’m happy I had the chance to read it. I could relate to almost all of the points, so I can only imagine how many others have, and will, read this article and take everything away from it that I have. Technology certainly makes everything feel more complicated, but humans always tend to ignore the simplicity in front of them, so it’s refreshing to be reminded of how simple focusing is.

  9. “Screens are a sensory desert” is quite an accurate description of what technology and social media is today. Social media such as Instagram seems to redefine what “living in the moment” means — all of what we see becomes data in our head. We don’t appreciate the small things because they exist, but because they are a means to accumulate popularity. It’s as if existence itself is just a race to the top in popularity. You can see that in news outlets and media as well. Like Nancy Darling said, now that the masses can access information that previously could not be accessed before, those tasked with providing obscure information must now provide highlights to direct our attention.

    Not saying that Ms. Darling blames technology, but I personally don’t think technology is at fault. It’s simply a tool that we can manipulate any which way because of how versatile it’s become. This article advocates for change in our own minds and I completely agree with that. Technology doesn’t have to inhibit us if we can adapt it to socializing more in person.

  10. Ms. Darling’s points are, indeed, very important when dealing with contemporary societal problems, especially since everything starts with an individual causing change. I believe that the concept evaluated, mindfulness, cannot be stressed enough, but emphasis has to be placed on younger generations. As others have stated, the obligation of getting an education and a stable career in a constantly changing economy can be daunting. By focusing too much on the future and only planning in the present, we miss out on a lot of life’s lessons, and that is something that has to change. It is a very boring—and often disappointing—cycle.

    All in all, this is a great article. I really liked the contrast Ms. Darling expressed because it helps us understand that, when we are with others, tools that may distract us from living in the present are not necessarily harmful. For example, by stating that cell phones can be a great bonding experience, it presented me with an opportunity that I had never thought of before. It eliminates the binary that surrounds millennials and social media or other things we use electronic devices for, thus empowering us to use it for our advantage.

  11. I feel like there is instant retaliation to any comment concerning millennials and our attention to the internet, social media, and so on. “Oh, those millennials, always on their phone and never outside” and the likes. Many of us don’t like to hear that, especially when it’s said in such a negative tone. However, I think this article is pretty clear on the effects of the age of technology in a calculating and thoughtful way. It doesn’t place the blame on a whole generation, Darling even says that multitasking has been going on for previous generations too, and I think that’s a great point to bring up to people.

    And another thing: honestly, as much as I’d like to stand up and say I’m different, I don’t care what society thinks! I know that’s not true every time I enjoy posting something cool I did on Instagram or Twitter. That’s why I like this article so much. Darling tells us that we do multitask, and as a result our relationships may suffer, but she doesn’t viciously scold us – she offers advice. That’s magnificent and I think that will connect with many of us in the age of social media/the internet.

    I wonder how our interactions will change when virtual reality becomes a thing?

    Overall, I loved reading this article. The interview was great, and tackled questions that brought to light serious issues that we might not have thought of before, like the loss of feeling pleasure. The solutions takeaway were especially helpful with my own takeaway. So, thanks for the great read!

    1. I always think when I see things about “those millennials and technology” however, Facebook is widely used by people in generations above us in close percentages as millennials. So I never understood the complaining. But I have an idea, maybe something to do with confirmation bias and attribution errors and attribution biases? This is just a guess.
      What I do understand is what Professor Darling was saying about how irritating it is to talk to someone who’s not paying attention in the moment of the conversation. Again, I’ve encountered this in all age groups! I like how she concluded by saying notice the small things. In my Cognitive Psychology studies, we discussed how our brain filters out information that’s so common in order to reserve energy for tasks that require more energy.And I think by what Professor Darling was saying, is by focusing on what is normally filtered out, we can regain a sense of our surroundings in the moment, slow down, turn off the automatic processing and enjoy life. I know this is something I need to work on myself!

  12. In this interview, Nancy Darling brings forth an interesting variety of points regarding living in the moment and how technology plays a role. For instance, she states that “Screens are a sensory desert. You get words and visual images, but there’s no smell, no taste, the sound and even movement is pretty limited.” This metaphor being used makes it easy to visualize technology from an objective perspective.

    As someone growing up surrounded by a mass production of technological goods, many of the points made in this interview hit close to home. For example, Nancy Darling touches on the fact that “We are constantly thinking about an audience… I go on a walk and see a lovely flower and instead of looking at it and moving on, I pull out my phone, snap a picture of it, and post it on Instagram because my focus is on what my friends and followers will think about the thing I just saw. I am seeing it through their eyes, not through my own.” This is a particularly powerful statement as I have found myself multiple times recording or taking pictures of an event without being a part of it and enjoying the said event for what it is.

    Although this interview with Nancy Darling does provide a constructive amount of information, there are still a few questions that should be answered. Nancy says that “I think humans are a species of multitaskers.” What does she mean by this and what examples can be given to help elaborate? She also voices her opinion that “If you’re not interested enough in the conversation you’re in to pay attention to it, maybe you should develop better conversational skills.” To me, this statement falls flat and seems like an unnecessary jab directed towards the reader.

    Ultimately, this article was thought-provoking and was able to hold my attention from start to finish.

    Sierra

  13. I can’t emphasise my resonance with “they just get distracted by the different parts of now” enough. I blamed my tardiness on my inefficiency to manage time when in reality it was my scattered focus that lengthened the duration of the task at hand. I think I am going to take inspiration from this article and focus on the ignored mundanities of life just to stimulate my senses and not for social media. Yes, I am guilty of wearing the snapchat spectacles, not literally but figuratively. Thoughts inside my head are cramped with aesthetic ideas for Instagram and quotes that might go with the picture of the flower. This article and an eye- opening episode of Black Mirror, where a woman lost her sanity over her rating on social media , reassured me that I am not alone on this journey to become more self-aware.

    It’s ironic, how the technology that is accused of making us distant has also brought us closer to our loved ones. Interestingly, this article covers both these faces of technology and how to maintain a balance between the two.

    I, and a lot of people I know, need to stop giving in to our slavish impulsions to cater to every distraction.

    Thank you for an insightful article.

  14. This definitely was such a refreshing read. Everything mentioned was so true. It’s truly upsetting when you are trying connect with people in person, and when you’re having a conversation they pull out there phone. I mean sometimes you get a txt and notice it, but for me, I ignore it and continue on with spending time with the person that’s in front of me. “Is the person you’re texting really that much more interesting?” When Nancy Darling said that it really resonated with me because it happens to me all the time. It is so true because that’s how I feel like it is. I know sharing things you find on the internet is cool, but you make time to spend time with one person, and they focus on someone else makes you feel insignificant. Unless it’s an emergency or for work, then I can understand. Although technology has done so many amazing things for a lot people, especially millennials, it caused some bad as well with distractions, and sometimes like Nancy said, you just need to tune into the now, instead of grabbing your phone to show the world, enjoy it for yourself.

  15. Wow, some parts of this article really released certain feelings I can’t describe… One of my biggest struggles for the past few years has been that dull feeling that prevents me from stepping out of my comfort zone and actally doing something “useful for the world”. “we are (…) hoping to see something that makes us say ‘wow’”. Exactly. I would say that we are nearly drowning in information everyday, we have already seen way more than our grandparents at our age and that makes us immune to being impressed, it makes us cold in a way. She said the following: “Anhedonia is the inability to feel pleasure and is one of the major symptoms of depression.” This makes me worried, even scared to an extent since I’ve read numerous times that depression will be the second largest killer by 2020, right after heart disease (For instance, there is an article on this on http://www.cdc.gov). How terrifying is that? But back to the topic, I like that Ms Darling pointed out the imfortance of real life and real friendships. I believe that physical touch and human-to-human cannot be substituted by a smiley face. However, in today’s world more and more life aspects are moved online and it is basically unavoidable so that makes me wonder how great would it be to find a way to make our time online more productive and leave us with more time to explore the world. Humans would have to spend more time thinking about more interesting activities to do outside, too.
    Definitely the kind of topic I could go on and on about for days, great article!

  16. I couldn’t agree more to what Ms. Nancy Darling tackled in this interview. It really saddens me to say that technology has taken over human. We’ve become slaves of technology, as frightening as it may sounds. No one can escape. There are days when I’m holding a cellphone on my hand and another gadget on my lap, tapping on them simultaneously and then in one moment it will just hit me that they’re taking over me. These things are controlling me. Then I would just turn them off and go outside. That is the cycle. One time I am at a mall, there is this mother and daughter. The mother is using her gadget when she should be watching her child. If we all just take time and ditch the gadgets, have real interaction with people, see the beauty of our surroundings.

  17. She is right about being fluid in body movement. Technology is a beautiful thing, but personal health is of higher value. Since I work from computers and tend to sit for long periods of time, I had to bring in yoga and tai-chi to keep myself from getting stiff knees. Once a week (Saturday or Sunday), I take a techno-fast and walk around town. Thanks to this method, I have some workout buddies that I connected with, due to similar fitness goals and interests.

    1. Speaking from an occupational safety and health perspective, this is great. It is ergonomically incorrect to sit for an entire work shift. Furthermore, you’ve given me some therapeutic ideas to break up the monotony.

  18. This! A thousand times this!! I’m extremely glad I’m not the only one who feels this. It’s so difficult to really know if I’m actually enjoying something, everything that once entertained me now doesn’t really give me any joy or entertainment. It’s like the world all of a sudden turned dull and gray, and it honestly saddens me. With my anxiety, it’s so hard to focus on one thing at a time, and my phone is generally with me at all times, so I can go from one subject to the other until I find something that brings emotion in me. I wish others would realize this and not say it’s because “technology is ruining the brain”.

  19. What I love about this interview is that it highlighted the fact that this generation of people has such easy access to information. Due to this easy access we have grown bored and sometimes take for granted the knowledge that is right at our fingertips. Like Nancy Darling said: we are always looking for novelty. I would have loved if the last paragraph that talked about our constant thought about an audience could have transitioned into a question that went into more detail about this topic. We have, in a sense, developed a sense of a need to showcase our life and how good we are doing to the world, I am definitely guilty of this. This is due to boom social media, which has given us access to a public platform to speak our minds. This generation has so much technology and so much opportunity that I wonder if this abundance has made us grown complacent. Do we strive less because of what those before us have accomplished and we now reap the benefits from their hard work?

    I find it admirable that the interviewee acknowledged that technology could be a way to facilitate communication rather than being a constant obstacle to it. There are so many critics out there that are quick to reprimand millenials and state that we do not know how to socialize because we are preoccupied with the technological world. If used properly, technology can be used as a way to form stronger bonds and to connect on a deeper level through shared interests.

    I love how the interviewee did not have a complicated answer on how to not give in to distractions, it was simply: pay attention. This is super relevant to our generation as well since we have so much stuff at our disposal it becomes very hard to keep our attention for even the minimal amount of time. I have to be honest, I even looked away from the article and went to other browsers while I was reading. It is something that I have to work on I guess and just pay attention.

    Another thing that was really good about the article is that you summed it up in a few sentences at the end, it really clarifies the main point of the article!

  20. Several of these points support my reason for not being immediately accessible at all times. I silence my phone during my “me-time,” leave my phone elsewhere when it’s family time, use the “do not disturb” button for group texts, and refrain from receiving notifications. This helps me to slow down and enjoy my surroundings. As Julia states, five seconds is a long time to take in the moment. On the flip-side, I do take selfies when I’m adventuring and update my status here and there; however, I limit myself accordingly.

  21. I have been trying to gradually disconnect from social media because I’ve realized how much time I waste on the Internet when I could be spending time with others or doing something more productive and healthy. So far, I have deactivated my Instagram and unfollowed many celebrities on other social media platforms. Why does it matter what the Kardashians are doing? How does watching everything they do benefit my life in any way? I also don’t want to live my life trying to please or amuse people who follow me on social media. I want to do things I personally enjoy and find meaningful rather than think about how other people would view my life.
    I never realized that I could spend so many hours on the Internet because “screens are a sensory desert” – we are never satisfied or impressed by what we see, so we keep looking for more. I’m surprised it took me until reading this article to realize that, because it seems so obvious now. It reminds me of an article that on read on Vice about Tinder. Tinder gives people an endless variety of potential dates, so they could be less likely to settle down with someone because they’re always looking for someone better. They’re never satisfied. It’s scary to think how much joy and satisfaction could be taken out of our real lives because of excessive social media use. Of course it is nice to connect with people we aren’t physically able to see often, but it is also extremely important to disconnect from the world and be able to enjoy what we have in front of us.

  22. I love the structure of your writing, it’s much easier for me to comprehend. I also relate to the fact that it’s difficult to live in the moment. I also like how you worded how people just get stuck in different parts of the now.
    When you mentioned multitasking I’m wondering if you think that’s helpful or not. From reading the whole article I understand you need to cherish small moments but I didn’t see if you believe multitasking is helpful or unhelpful. Furthermore, when you mention that you studied the relationships of young people maybe specify with an age range? It would just be easier to get a feel for what young people means in this.
    Overall, I love it, it helps me understand that the moments are important to focus on and maybe not be as invested in my screens. However as someone who deals with fast/intrusive thoughts, I’m not sure if taking away what I use as a distraction from my thoughts could help better my mental health. Of course the target audience is presumably not dealing with this but how would I stay in the moment with my thought racing?

  23. Living in this modern generation can be quite difficult to balance between keeping up with the seemingly endless innovations of the virtual world and maintaining healthy relationships with other people. As what Nancy Darling has stated, people have the penchant to “get distracted by different parts of the now”, and I think this actually quite true for most of us, not just the millennials. Long story short, what I have picked up from this very much enlightening interview is that people should possess the necessary mindfulness toward his/her surroundings in order to live healthy and functional lives and to just focus on the moment in front. Also, Nancy Darling has mentioned in the interview several things on how to exactly “live in the moment”, and these kinds of things, I believe, are the ones which should not really be taken for granted by most of us.

  24. Great insights, however I don’t think that it is just the US which is less appreciative because of fast-paced lifestyles. Coming from an Asian country, it is unfortunately, the same here (Singapore) as well. In developed communities, a fast-paced lifestyle is part and parcel of a typical day here. Appreciating the slow moments can sometimes be a luxury most people cannot afford. Yet, it is essential for rumination, for often out of these things, we tend to come up with innovative solutions to problems we have.

    1. Very interesting take! Seems like adapting to a face pace world is the norm today. But I guess, what Dr. Darling wants to help people with is to live in the moment where we sometimes forget how to.

  25. The first question is really powerful; we are actually distracted with the now. I believe that most of us the millennial think that future is actually quite scary rather than fascinating thus we’re really focusing and the ‘now’ rather than thinking what will happen later.

    In addition, the point where Ms Nancy stated that when someone playing with smartphone is killing the social interaction is very well accurate. It is in fact of what is currently happening today; people everytime always stare to their phone screen- which is very ironic as I’m writing this on the smartphone as well. I believe that today technology can make everyone connected with someone faraway, but it disconnects you with someone closer to you.

    I do actually wonder for the part where people in USA are less focused on building and maintaining social activities with people around them. I believe that not all of the Americans can be categorized​ in the same pod for this; according to Copeland & Griggs (1986) the New Yorker and Texans will definitely have different context on how to maintain their social circles where the people form the southern will be more open and communicative while others are the opposite to that. It gets me notices if the symptoms like spending less time with family, or friends can be associated​ with a ‘being more independent’ traits that commonly shared in most of developed country as well, or people just simply evolve to be less caring among each other.

    Overall, I really like how Ms.Nancy answers all of the interview question with a very approachable example that relevant to the today’s living situation.

  26. This is so important to know. Especially the teens who never get off their phone. For them, taking away their phones is like the worst punishment they can get. But actually it’s not. I agree with everything she says about living a more active and healthier life. I can relate to this topic because when i was still in high school, i got my phone taken away for a few months. At first, it was very hard for me since i wasn’t used to not having my phone. As time went on, i started to be more active in life, and my communication skills were getting much better. I realized myself talking a lot and socializing during gatherings. I realized that i wasn’t in a rush to get my phone back at all because i liked how healthier my lifestyle was becoming. Now i definitely balance it out. This article was interesting to read. I would like to know if daydreaming is a negative part of your mental well being even if it’s something pleasant?

  27. From the beginning of the article my attention was grabbed by the words, “today’s fast-paced world” very easily. From my own observations, it’s always seemed to me that everyone is in some sort of race with life. Not everybody of course, but most people I see today are always busy trying to complete an abundance of things. I agree with Nancy Darling’s reply about distractions being more of the cause and I feel that because of how everyone has an “in basket.” From a book I have read called “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson, the author describes how everyone has an in basket in which most feel the need to complete everything in it (Ch.6). That need to finish everything may be the cause of one to put off the little things in life because they are too busy being distracted.
    From the question associated to how not living in the moment can affect ones mental health, I can see how it can be connected to the question I talked about above. I think maybe perhaps the distractions people may face in a day to day life have the ability to create a lack appreciation to ones environment. Of course this is just my own contemplation on the subject, but I was brought back to a time when my psychology professor once discussed how in all his life, he’s never seen such an increase in depression on college campuses and he felt one of the causes may be due to isolation and stress. So from this I question if it’s the distractions that are linked with isolation (such as jobs that involve little to no human interaction) that create a sense of depression which then could create one to show less appreciation to the little things in life.
    All inclusive, I feel the article was well written and I enjoyed the questions asked on the topic. This is a pretty hot topic being that our society is very social media and technology based today and could be thought as a huge distraction in life. Social media has a beneficial side, which is its ability to bring people together, but like most things, it also has its negativity to real life interaction. However it is still interesting to think about how we have evolved to this change in society and how it’s changed our way of life compared to past generations.

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