It’s easy to say to ‘be in the moment.’ It’s easy to think that you don’t spend as much time on your phone than you actually do. It’s easy to use your phone as a security blanket in public situations. I practice mindfulness as much as I can in my daily life. Being fully aware of what is going on around me and within me is something I strive to be better at. As a communications student, I am always on technology. I like to scroll through Instagram influencers, read current news and play with editing photos or design. Sometimes, though, that leaves me with an excuse to be consumed in technology and have my face glued to a screen. When I do take the time to focus on the present, especially recently, I am extremely thankful. Technology is the very thing that I use to create, the amazing uses these tools provide helps every college student. But, I encourage looking away. Power off for a few minutes.

One of my favorite things to do to power off is putting on a hoodie with sweatpants and sit on the bench outside my house at the end of the night. No phone, no laptop and no distractions creates an environment for your mind to wander or rest. Some people really enjoy having a space to let their mind reflect, and therefore keep their mind busy. Others might want this time to be empty for a short time. Surrounded by interruption and disturbance, we as college students are receiving information from every angle. Allotting five minutes to stare at the sky and empty every last thought out of your mind can give you clarity that you might be missing.

Something simple, but effective that a mentor of mine told me a few years ago was to close your eyes and visualize five things for each sense. For example, for ‘see’ you would picture five different scenes in your head and count on your fingers, slowly. For ‘touch,’ you would imagine the texture of five different items. Not only does this method slow down your thoughts, but it separates you from technology.

Although it sounds silly, my point is that humans need to breathe. We can’t keep going through every hour of our day on our devices. Being students, we can’t control most of the hours we spend on laptops writing essays, but when you get the chance, close off your mind and be aware of what is going on around you. Help yourself, and power off.