How To Learn And Relax At The Same Time: On Mindful Learning
Unlimited information, shrinking attention spans, and the frantic rhythms of everyday life are all contributing factors driving people toward constant content consumption for relaxation and destressing. Sure, decompressing on your phone after a long, demanding day requires little active participation and even less thought. At this point, for many, it’s an automatic action that doesn’t demand any actual decision making. This, however, comes at a cost. Mindlessly scrolling for hours on end does not help our brains recharge, nor does it actively contribute to our personal growth. Consequently, people’s innate mental resilience is becoming stretched thin despite their best efforts to continuously pursue better conditions in their personal and professional lives. This article will highlight the need for a transition from mindless internet scrolling to mindful, meaningful learning that can transform how we consume digital content.
The Mindless Scrolling Effects
Because of the massive amounts of information available, one can really get lost in an endless sea of on-demand stimuli that require no mental effort in their consumption. This never-ending supply of dopamine—that makes mindless scrolling so irresistible—creates an endless loop of demand for supply. In simple terms, dopamine brings us comfort, and because of our hectic day-to-day, comfort is achieved when we let our brains take a break. Hence, the search for comfort is continuous, and by definition, mindless scrolling breeds more mindless scrolling.
Letting ourselves relax this way is not necessarily evil. What’s needed is to determine where the balance lies. The point here isn’t to forbid ourselves from scrolling through social media; it’s to be mindful of how to leverage it for our benefit. Long hours of scrolling can lead to information fatigue, poor time management, loss of productivity, and even make us forget to be present. It’s also essential to ensure that a good percentage of the time spent scouring social media adds value to our lives and our paths. Therefore, the need to turn all that infinite scrolling into meaningful learning experiences is higher than ever.
6 Tips To Combat Mindless Scrolling With Mindful Learning
How can we, as content consumers, ensure that said content brings value to our growth journeys? To combat this never-ending chase of consumption, one mustn’t abstain but, instead, become more mindful. By intentionally pursuing learning opportunities and perceiving them as acts of leisure, we can set the stage for mindful learning to thrive. And, we can finally allow our bodies and minds to truly unwind. Here are some tips to help you turn your mindless scrolling into opportunities for mindful learning.
1. Create An eLearning Community
Whether that’s a public social media group or a team of acquaintances all combatting their excessive scrolling habits, creating an eLearning community can help you hold yourself accountable in your new endeavor. Similar to communities of practice, groups of this type can utilize the shared goal of minimizing pointless scrolling and discover ways to gravitate toward mindful learning opportunities.
If you already have a community, find a common interest or topic and create a learning plan to approach it. Devise ways to achieve mastery in your shared domain and keep each other accountable to meet your learning goals. A sense of camaraderie and shared experience can go a long way toward becoming more mindful of one’s habits and one’s growth. Lastly, as eLearning communities bond, members discover new interests along the way, further fueling their journey toward more mindful learning experiences. Not to mention, combining learning with social activities can also reinforce the concept of learning for leisure.
2. Revisit Your Passions
Is there a hobby you left behind because of your hectic day-to-day? No time like the present to revisit your passions! Instead of spending hours of mindless scrolling, utilize your time to master a skill, a craft, or a hobby. Pursuing something you’ve always wanted to try can bring clarity and mindfulness to how you allocate your free time. To make room for hobbies or personal upskilling in your daily routine, you have to put your time management skills to the test, after all. In addition, revisiting long-lost interests is a creative endeavor that will allow your brain to both exercise and rest. It’s a needed break from our—sometimes robotic—everyday rituals, and one that can really shine the spotlight on the chasm between attacking our brains with constant stimuli versus selectively providing them with the right stimuli to aid our personal growth and learning journey.
3. Find Structure
Creating a sustainable and structured routine is essential to leverage potential learning opportunities as they come. Sure, being flexible and keeping an open mind to unexpected learning pleasures along your journey to self-betterment has a wealth of advantages. However, if you’re just starting to set boundaries on your scrolling habit, a structured approach is the way to go. To find and establish structure in your everyday life, identify the specific moments where your scrolling goes off the rails. Is it during your commute to work or while you’re having your lunch break? Or is scrolling your preferred way to unwind after the workday? Targeting these areas can help you establish better practices in order to avoid mindless overconsumption of content and foster more mindful learning experiences. Identify them, then start on the next step: outlining your goals.
4. Outline Your Goals
The practice of goal setting can be accommodated in every aspect of our lives, both personal and professional. By carefully outlining specific goals, one has the ability to create more cohesive plans of action in order to achieve them. In this context, goal setting can help you realize your targets, foster motivation, and give you the boost you need to get started on your mindful learning journey. It doesn’t matter if you prefer creating bullet lists or vision boards; the important thing here is to make your goals visible. After that, determining the individual steps you’ll need to take so that you can reach each goal is much easier.
5. Discover Your Learning Preferences
Discovering the different modes and methods you prefer to learn can really set you up for success. Thankfully, there are myriads of options available, so you can try a variety of ways. As mentioned previously, mindless scrolling stems from our innate need for comfort. What better way to achieve said comfort than, for example, gamification? There are many platforms available that effectively leverage gamified learning. Gamification is an excellent substitute for mindless scrolling, as it reinforces the concept of learning for leisure and makes the process of goal reaching enjoyable. Other alternative learning methods include microlearning, which substitutes the rapid content consumption of mindless scrolling with bite-sized learning pieces, or field-based learning, which may require more effort than at-home learning but is equally rewarding and relaxing.
6. Assemble An Easily Accessible Resource Pack
This step is vital. Creating a resource pack that’s easily accessible will help you reach your mindful learning goals considerably faster. These tools can easily be assembled based on your learning preferences and your outlined goals. Some great ideas involve subscriptions to informative, reputable information hubs and websites, documentaries on topics of your choosing, podcasts, or learning apps that help you develop your targeted skills. Additionally, if you’re aiming to master a craft, tutorials or microlessons on your preferred domain can be accessed with ease to provide you with the necessary training tools to further your mindful learning journey.
Sacrificing your recreational scrolling habits and replacing them with intentional opportunities for skills development and learning is a small price to pay to facilitate growth. Mindful learning allows you to foster skills and capabilities that will make you an indispensable asset in your professional and personal life. In addition, it provides an excellent relaxation method, as learning in this context becomes an act of leisure. To truly leverage mindful learning, one must step away from pointless scrolling and devise ways to become more intentional in their content consumption. By changing the way we consume content and completely revising our recreational habits, we can learn how to effectively let our bodies and minds decompress, as well as add more value to our path toward betterment.