One of the biggest skills we’re going to need going forward is the ability to use our technology mindfully.

For all the good we can accomplish with our smartphones and devices, there’s also a lot of negative effects that can come into play if we’re not careful.

Think along the lines of losing focus, feeling scatterbrained, becoming anxious, and the sense of being disconnected — ironic, right?

Our devices can work for or against us. Technology is inherently neutral, it’s up to us to decide which direction it takes.

Training ourselves in the art of mindfulness will help us recognize this. While many people preach the benefits of mindfulness in aiding our attention and clearing our minds of negative thoughts, we can also use it to become more aware of ourselves and our actions, and how they truly affect us.

We’re constantly distracted by Facebook, emails, and any little notification on our phones — It’s a big problem, and I believe it will only get worse as time goes by and we accumulate more devices with more apps and more things vying for our attention.

So it’s time to start being aware.

And the key is to truly be aware — aware of when you feel the need to use this technology, aware of the feelings that creep up on you, aware of the thoughts that enter your mind.

Here’s a Mindfulness Strategy:

1. Pause for a few seconds whenever the phone rings, you get a message, or you feel the urge to check Facebook/Twitter. Take note of how that feels, to not jump up to answer it immediately. Do you feel anxious? Impatient? Or relaxed and calm?

2. How do you feel while using the devices? If you’re talking to someone, are you thinking about the conversation or something else? How do you feel as you scroll through your timeline? What type of thoughts do they bring about?

3. How do you feel when it’s all over? Do you feel relieved, satisfied, and happy? Maybe bored and less happy? Or, what about disconnected, insecure, and out of control?

Yes, all the steps are based on noticing how you feel and what thoughts come into your head at all three stages of using the technologies. Sounds easy, right? Like we should be aware of our thoughts and feelings and reasons for them all the time — they are after all, a big part of what makes you ‘you.’

Funny thing is we don’t, we don’t often know why we feel a certain way, it’s often not obvious and can sometimes not seem to make any sense. And your thoughts? Well, if you daydream regularly or lose track of how a conversation came to a certain point, you’ll likely know what it’s like to have misplaced the road to your current thought.

This is exactly where mindfulness excels. When you practice the art of mindfulness — especially when you’re using technology — you’re training yourself to be more aware and focused at each moment, so that things don’t pass by unnoticed.

Technology and Mindfulness: What’s Your Score?

Try recording how you feel in each of those above steps, in the form of a score out of ten. Add the score for each category together and divide it by three. If your average is under eight, start to think about why, and what you might be able to do to add some points.

When you’ve done this for a little while you should start to see the certain things that set off a bad reaction, at that point you’ll know what you need to fix. Practicing mindfulness meditation will help, by improving focus and self-control you’ll be able to reject whatever the problem is more easily. There are other technology tricks you can try too: Turning the device off, blocking notifications from certain services, and simply deleting the worst ones.

Using our devices the wrong way means we’re spending time doing something that can negatively affect our focus, happiness, and health; when we could be spending that time productively, creatively, and accompanied by a good mood.

Balance technology and mindfulness will help you remain on course and in control of all your gear, and really it’ll help in many other areas too. Being more aware of what happens inside your own head is a powerful tool, one that seems obvious and yet eludes so many of u