Using Privacy Techniques to “Opt-in” in to Mindfulness


Opting in to the present moment

By now, we’re all familiar with the language of marketing permission standards – opting-in and opting-out. To “opt-in” requires our affirmative consent. No action is taken without express permission. With “opt-out” we’re automatically enrolled in some form of notification or communication, and the action continues until we change our preferences or unsubscribe. User choice is paramount when it comes to email marketing compliance and respecting privacy rights.

But we can also look at this language of privacy choice in a broader sense, one which helps us make more mindful choices not only online, but in our daily lives.

Opt-in to mindfulness

To opt-in is to signal our affirmative consent – a voluntary and definitive action. It marks a change in default or habitual behavior. To opt-in is to express a choice in the present moment, one which is not made automatically or subsumed in the modern rush of multitasking.

When we opt-in, we take responsibility for our actions. This enables an effective and lasting choice. Choosing to do something marks a practice of mindfulness.

In a 2012 TEDSalon London talk, Andy Puddicombe describes the meditative practice of mindfulness this way:

“Most people assume that meditation is all about stopping thoughts, getting rid of emotions, somehow controlling the mind, but actually it’s much different than that. It’s more about stepping back, seeing the thought clearly — witnessing it coming and going — without judgment, but with a relaxed, focus mind.”

The benefits of mindfulness

Put aside any stereotypical ideas you may have about incense and auras, the benefits of mindfulness are profound and tangible. Studies have shown that meditation can help generate new ideas and may even be an effective tool in reducing heart attacks and strokes. According to recent research, mindfulness training “increases prefrontal activity, which can regulate and turn down the biological stress response.” Mindfulness can also increase the benefits and enjoyment of your exercise routine.

Mindfulness is mainstream

The practice of mindfulness meditation may stretch back through the ages, but in December of 2014, it finally found its way to the CBS program 60 Minutes.

In this segment, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper “reports on what it’s like to try to achieve “mindfulness,” a self-awareness scientists say is very healthy, but rarely achieved in today’s world of digital distractions.” Cooper attended a weekend meditation retreat at Spirit Rock in Northern California and studied with Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Kabat-Zinn teaches that

“there are a lot of different ways to talk about mindfulness, but what it really means in awareness.”

The “newly mindful” Cooper says he is incorporating these practices in his daily life.

Your options for opting-in

So, what will you choose to opt-in to? Are there areas of your life as well as your privacy practice where you’ve been in opt-out mode? New opportunities, life’s challenges, your emotional wellbeing, your health and relationships… couldn’t they all benefit from mindfulness? Make a choice to opt-in to the present moment.

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