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Mindful : June 2019
FRIDAY Delete Social Media Apps Social media is like junk food: Bingeing on it makes us feel bad, and yet once we start con- suming it, it’s really hard to stop. So let’s take control of it by deleting all social media apps from your phone. I’m serious. Do it now. Put your finger on an app icon until it starts jiggling, and then press the x in the corner. The app, panicking, will respond with a manipulative question (“Are you really sure you want to delete me and all my data?”). Say yes and then shake your head in disgust: Everyone knows that Facebook didn’t really delete any of your data. It’s all still lurking in the cloud, ready to be used against you and reinstalled/downloaded at any time. I’m not trying to get you off of social media entirely; I just want you to check it through your phone or computer’s internet browser instead of on an app. This creates a speed bump, because browser versions of social media platforms often have fewer features than their apps and are clunkier to use. So they provide lots of opportu- nities to ask yourself whether you really want to be checking social media at that moment. If you decide that you do, define your pur- pose ahead of time (Are you posting something? Looking for something specific? Just scroll- ing for fun?) and decide how long you want to spend. You may even want to set a timer. When you’re done, log out and close the window so that it won’t open automatically the next time you launch the browser. Lastly, make a point of taking some of the time you usually spend on social media and spending it with people you care about instead— offline. Call a friend. Invite someone to coffee. Have a party. (Yes, you can use social media to help you organize.) Notice how you feel after- ward, especially compared to how you usually feel after spending time on social media. SATURDAY Come Back to (Real) Life If you use your phone less, you’re going to end up with more time. Unless you have some sense of how you want to be spending this reclaimed time, you’re likely to feel anxious and possibly a bit depressed—and you’ll be at risk of sliding right back into your old habits. That’s why we need to get back in touch with what makes us happy in our offline lives. We’re going to start with a few prompts. Just jot down whatever comes to mind. • I’ve always loved to: • I’ve always wanted to: • When I was a kid I was fascinated by: • If I had more time, I would like to: • Some activities that I know put me into flow are: • People I would like to spend more time with include: Once you’re done, use your answers to those questions to make a list of fun, off-phone things you could do over the next few days. For example: Do a crossword in a café. Go on a day trip. Sign up for a class. Plan a game night. Go to a museum. Our goal here is to come up with ideas—and plans—for fun things ahead of time, so that when you find yourself with free time, you’ll be less likely to reach for your phone. mindful tech 72 mindful June 2019