The Mindful Internet User

The Mindful Internet User

It's About Knowing When to Stop

By John Grohol

September/October 2010

Human beings are creatures of habit, and nowhere is the force of habit more apparent than in the way most of us use the Internet. Few of us are disciplined enough to go online, do one thing, and log off. While it may be fun to keep updating our Facebook profiles or repeatedly accessing our various feeds throughout the day or merrily multitasking round the clock, researchers are beginning to document the emotional and psychological price we're paying for doing so. But the good news is that feeling overwhelmed and lost online isn't an inevitable consequence of living in the Internet Age—we can change how we behave when we go on online and how we interact with the web.

Mindfulness training is a particularly handy tool for helping us become more aware of our relationship with the Internet. It provides a number of effective ways to reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety that arise from trying to organize and keep track of too much information at once. The tips below will help you be more present when using the Internet, improve your online efficiency, and reduce the stress that so often accompanies multitasking and information overload.

The STOP Technique

Psychologist Elisha Goldstein has developed the STOP technique—adapted from cognitive-behavioral research—to relieve the feeling of being overwhelmed by too much information by bringing your mind back to what you really want to be doing. This technique is especially helpful when you find…

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