The Importance of Digital Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the core of the Miraval philosophy. In everything we do, we encourage our guests, colleagues, and readers to live in the present moment, conscious of the unique intersection of mind, body, and spirit.

We asked Miraval Arizona’s General Manager, Mark Stebbings, to share his wisdom and thoughts on the importance of digital mindfulness and how to mindfully disconnect from digital distractions.

  • What is Miraval Mode and why is it important?

To make the most of our Miraval journey or any particular moment in our day, we should start with awareness of how purposefully distracting our cell phones, tablets, smartwatches can be. Every given moment of our days can be quickly disrupted by the numerous notifications we get pinged with – every alert and buzz gnaws at us for attention. We are now living in a reimagined workplace, with remote offices more common place than ever before causing a very blurred boundary between work and home life balance. However, that shouldn’t stop us from honoring life in balance and trying to be present with ourselves, family, and loved ones. By creating Miraval Mode, where everyone is asked to use digital devices in designated areas (and not during their Miraval activities, downtime, or spa services), we are providing the opportunity for all our guests and colleagues to experience each activity, without distraction. This allows everyone to be aware and consciously limit (not abandon) our digital device use.

Our intention is to provide an environment and space for our guests to live in the present moment and inspire them to “live in the world beyond their screen”. We want our guests to fully immerse in their Miraval experiences and surroundings, the one where you hear the birds singing, feel the earth beneath your feet as you walk the labyrinth, see the sun come up over the mountains,  take it all in, and….breathe.

We of course want our guests to take photos and capture the moment, but the key is to not look at them or worry about posting them to social or texting a friend immediately. Look at them later, share them later, celebrate them, and create those memories rather than having instant gratification and forgetting to take in the actual moment.

  • What is the importance of digital mindfulness?

Are we taking the time to prioritize self-care?  It’s often said, we update and recharge our phones, what are we doing for ourselves?

One thing to be clear about is that Miraval Mode and digital mindfulness is not a detox. It’s not about cracking an addiction by going all in and abandoning your phone/device for your entire stay (although that may be nice).  It’s about living a life in balance.  We are trying to help each person find that. Be present, not concentrate on the past or future, is a simple definition of mindfulness. Take a moment and think about your experiences when you are not looking at a screen, scrolling through social media, or endless newsfeeds. Did you make a connection? Did your gratitude toward someone or something increase? Did you feel more engaged? More grounded? If so, it is likely you achieved this by unplugging and disconnecting, even if for a brief moment.  That is the importance of being present, being mindful. You are responsible for creating those moments free of distraction, allowing yourself to focus on reflection, your emotional state, listening to what you feel mentally and physically. When we can take those moments to create balance and live, life may feel better.    

  • What techniques help us use technology more mindfully, and how?

I know I am constantly reminded how much screen time is happening, (too much each week).  One suggestion I have implemented on my phone is to switch the screen to black and white. This makes my phone less appealing without the bright colors, blue light, and red notifications, and in turn, I end up spending less time mindlessly scrolling. Using simple cues and tools like a cell phone sleeping bag, putting your phone on do not disturb mode, and moving it out of the bedroom, can help create balance and a peaceful night’s sleep.

  • How can someone prepare for Miraval mode before arrival?

As Wyatt Webb, founder of the Miraval Equine Experience told me, I am 100% responsible for 50% of every relationship. If am giving myself permission to unplug and be present, I will make sure I do my part and communicate to those around me that this is my intention. Reciprocal permission is one of the key elements in helping to make this work for all of us. When I set my out-of-the-office message, it will let everyone know that I am staying somewhere that does not allow me to be on a device. I set parameters and provide times when I will be checking in.  Although I don’t have a social media presence I know how important it is for others and lets everyone know what’s going on so I suggest adding a message on there as well.  Re-wording or emphasizing the out-of-office message so people read it and realize the intention.  Miraval provides this opportunity for our guests and that is why Miraval Mode is so important to the Miraval journey.

Finally, I would add one component that is sometimes underestimated.  Challenging yourself to intentionally disconnect, is exactly that, a challenge. And just like our Miraval challenge course activities, although they may seem nerve-wracking at first, the experience is always worth it. I advise making digital mindfulness a personal challenge and daily practice that you build upon every day. View our Digital Mindfulness video series for additional guidance and inspiration.

Miraval’s Digital Mindfulness Video Series

Know Before You Go

Everyday Practices

Whether you are planning a Miraval journey or setting intentions for the week ahead, explore how digital mindfulness can help re-center your mind and elevate your spirits. Find tools and tips on our website here.

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