Mindfulness and Technology

girlsky1

Originating in Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness is becoming increasingly popular in the West as the incidence of anxiety, depression, and stress-related disorders plague the undercurrent of our fast-paced industrialized way of life. Recent scientific research on mindfulness has demonstrated beneficial effects on several holistic aspects of personal health, including the mind, the body, and behavior.

Mindfulness meditation has been proven medically effective to decrease stress and improve well-being when practiced consistently. Yet many people still struggle with the concept or application of mindfulness-based therapy. A new wave of delivery is emerging which is combining this ancient practice with modern technology to bridge the gap and appeal to a modern generation of meditators. Studies show not only relaxation, but important shifts in cognition, emotion, biology, and behavior that may work synergistically to improve health. There is also emerging evidence that mindfulness training is associated with greater meaning and peace in one’s life (spirituality), as well as enhanced relationships with others (Carmody et al., 2008Carson et al., 2004)

Imagine you are sitting peacefully on a beautiful beach. You can hear seagulls against a backdrop of pebbles clinking together with each breaking wave. You take deep belly breaths and listen to your meditation teacher as she sits beside you and guides you through the film roll of anxiety and consciousness unfolding behind your eyes. Now imagine that you take off your virtual reality headset to discover you in fact never left your own living room (and saved hundreds of dollars on a flight to a meditation retreat in India.) This is an example of one scenario that modern entrepreneurs are envisioning the marriage of mindfulness and technology to enhance the effectiveness of well-being and relaxation intervention. Virtual reality devices can be combined with health tracking technology such as Provada Health‘s iOS app; “…incorporated into (the) app (is) the ability to link health-tracking wearables, such as the Apple Watch, to quantify the effects of a meditation session on, for example, your resting heart rate. Or look at how your sleep is being affected by taking time out to meditate.”

Modern gaming technology is another avenue where it seems there is potential for mindfulness to be cultivated. Take for example one gaming app available via Play Store called ‘Pause,’ which was created through the principles of mindfulness meditation and Tai Chi. The creator Peng Cheng explains, “It started with my own severe experience of stress and depression. I gave myself 6 months, I practically didn’t do anything but I meditated and practiced Tai Chi with the goal to do nothing but staying in the here and now as much as possible.” The simple game involves a little blob which follows your finger across the screen and facilitates focused awareness by growing in size as you maintain a slow concentrated speed. “Most of our stress only exists in our head and absorbs all our attention. To break this pattern, I need to focus on what is physical and tangible and actively put my attention in the moment.”

Cultivating focused attention in the present moment is the core foundation of mindfulness practice preached hundreds of years ago, in ancient India, and today via a squiggly blob on a hand-held screen or through a high-tech headset. Proper use of technology has the capacity to transform the quality of our lives and the delivery of ancient therapies such as mindfulness which are being lost on a section of the modern generation unaccustomed or afraid of ‘spiritual mumbo jumbo.’ Many trials of research have found that people with higher levels of mindfulness – even without “formal” meditation training – report feeling less stressed, anxious and depressed, and more joyful, inspired, grateful, hopeful, content, vital, and satisfied with life (Baer et al., 2006; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Cardaciotto et al., 2008; Feldman et al., 2007; Walach et al., 2006).

Another benefit of mindfulness is the ability to recognize and accurately label emotions (Analayo, 2003). More mindful people appear to have a greater ability to control emotional reactions in the middle part of the brain (the amygdala and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex [ACC]) by engaging the front part of the brain (the prefrontal cortex [PFC]), which is associated with attention, concentration, and emotion regulation. This means when you’re practicing mindfulness you’ll better be able to control your emotions and correct unpleasant mood states.

Believe it or not, there is increasing scientific evidence to support the therapeutic effect of mindfulness meditation training on stress-related medical conditions, including psoriasis, type 2 diabetes, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic low back pain, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Several new technologies, including brain imaging, wearable tech. and virtual reality, are being used to look at and extend the potential health benefits of mindfulness. Finally, research is beginning to prove what mindfulness practitioners have known for centuries…that greater focus, awareness, acceptance, and empathy can make for more flexible, adaptive responses to stress, which, in turn, can help free us from suffering and realize greater well-being & happiness.

Original article

Managing Television Choices (or “The 17 Things I Watch on TV”)

The Future of TV

choices.jpg

While it’s great to have many choices, we also need to be able to quickly hone in on those to exactly what you want, when you want it, and how.

Last I checked, the U.S. TV home received, on average, 189 TV channels. Despite this, the number of channels we actually watch each day is just about 17.

changing-channels-americans-view-just-17-channels-despite-record-number-to-choose-from

So we’ve narrowed it down to 17 channels, that’s only 408 hours a day of programming to weed through. Some of that you have to pay for, some is free — a differentiation I think is pretty important. When you already pay a hefty fee for your cable bill, and you probably do, the incidentals of renting movies each month, and buying series and seasons and trilogy collections you must have are not insignificant. Some is on Apple TV, some in Amazon, some on your cable provider, don’t forget Google Play, Hulu, Netflix and so on…just to complicate things, searching those services is different depending on which one you use:

tv-search-comparison

Different search results for “Amy Schumer” depending on service

Is the future consolidation or more fragmentation? While there will continue to be buyouts there are still so many opportunities for content producers so I see more fragmentation. But the providers, the TV manufacturers and Netflix’s need to iron out the discovery process to optimize for customers.

Form Factor

In the not-too-distant future, stand-alone TVs will be a thing of the past and wall screens will be commonplace. I’m looking forward to this as my husband and I cannot agree on what color to paint the walls, so someday we’ll just have floor to ceiling screens that we switch as we like…blue….yellow….blue….yellow….blue. I’m starting to see a flaw in my plan, but anyway.

interactive-wallpaper-screens

(Photo credit: Imagination Technologies Blog)

Here is a flexible TV screen from LG, pretty crazy, huh?

lg-display

LG Display

Suddenly this doesn’t look so far off, does it?…

harry-potter

 

TV All Around Us

What else happens with TV in the future? Netflix aired a series called Black Mirror and specifically Episode 2 called “Fifteen Million Merits” about a future world where media and attention are currency and TV is all around us.

Black-Mirror-15-million-merits

Black Mirror is a strange but thought-provoking show and Episode 2 shows us a scenario where media has taken hold like cement, binding us superficially and forcing us into ways from which we can’t effectively evolve, let alone remain sane within it all. What else do I watch?

“The 17 Things I Watch on TV”

Don’t give up your TV just yet. Some programming is pretty great. Plus there are some things I’ll always go back and watch again, and again. Here are 17 things (in no particular order) I suggest you watch on TV or streaming wherever you want.BaBlack Mirror

  1. Saturday Night Live
  2. House of Cards
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Family Guy
  5. Boardwalk Empire
  6. Person of Interest
  7. Breaking Bad
  8. Mr. Robot
  9. Orange is the New Black
  10. Mike & Molly
  11. The Colbert Report
  12. Silicon Valley
  13. The Big Bang Theory
  14. Battlestar Gallatica
  15. Louie
  16. I Love Lucy

anigif_enhanced-767-1414179465-13

For more about the future TV, here’s a landscape snapshot from Venture Scanner and their recent post:

future-of-tv-visual-map5

Other big news from Nielsen was that music streaming was up 93% over last year. 93%!

Five Reasons Out-of-home Advertising is Gaining Momentum

Out-of-home advertising is projected to grow in 2014 and in the years beyond, thanks to advances in flat screen technology and digital displays. New devices are spurring the creation of eye-catching ads in public areas, causing marketers to adjust their ad campaigns and marketing strategies. In particular, there are five reasons why out-of-home advertising is gaining momentum.

High-quality Video Screens

Video screens that are durable, thin and display high-quality images are changing the way consumers view information. Digital devices can replace banners, posters and other print media that once dominated out-of-home advertising. Many of these digital devices have audio features, adding another dimension to ad campaigns that can capture consumers’ attention. Also, high-quality video screens can be used to feature multiple ads, making them more versatile than print ads.

Interactive Advertising Features

Print ads rarely have any type of interactive features, but digital devices can have touchscreen options to gain consumers’ attention and generate leads. For instance, a drawing to win a prize can be added to a digital device, allowing consumers to use touchscreen features to enter their information. Other interactive features such as games, which can be projected to wide audiences, also help in grabbing consumers’ attention.

Lower Advertising Costs

Since digital devices can display any number of ads, they cut down on the cost of advertising. Print ads are typically good for one campaign only. Posters and billboard signs have to be taken down and re-printed if there are changes to ads or prices. Digital devices don’t have to be taken down, remounted or re-designed. Instead, their programing has to be changed slightly in order to display new images, ads or promotions. This can save advertisers a lot of money over the long run.

Higher Market Penetration

Given the population density of most major U.S. cities and other major metropolitan areas around the world, out-of-home advertising has the power to reach large numbers of people. This helps advertisers penetrate their target markets, by displaying ads in the high-traffic areas that their customers frequent. For instance, ads for luggage or travel-related products displayed in busy airports have the power to capture the attention of passersby interested in new luggage or travel gear.

Captive Audiences

Even though digital devices are revolutionizing out-of-home advertising, traditional print ads and banners are still proving effective in areas with captive audiences. For instance, fans at ballparks are likely to see banners on outfield walls and in stadium hallways. Captive audiences are a prime target for out-of-home adverting, because marketers have a wide audience to promote their products, services and brand image to.

As the out-of-home advertising industry continues to evolve, consumers will see new types of ads in waiting rooms, train stations, airports and other public areas.  Given the foot traffic in public areas, ads in these places have the potential to capture customers’ attention and generate leads for future sales.

Resources:

(1)    The Economist: Out-of-home advertising — Billboard boom
(2)    Forbes: Out Of Home Ads Still Growing
(3)    The Wall Street Journal: Clear Channel Outdoor Showcases Power of Integrated Out-Of-Home and Mobile Advertising at Cannes Lions 2014
(4)    The Irish Times: Boom in out-of-home advertising as banks increase their spend by 200%

Who Listens to Lisacast

Lisacast listeners

You’re in great company. These are current demographic statistics about Lisacast listeners.

Married 96%
Single 4%

Male 67%
Female 33%

Median Income $50,000 – $74,999 40%

Age 35 to 49 63%

Caucasian 80%
African American 15%
Hispanic 4.5%

Sales and Marketing 19%
Entrepreneurs 15%
Senior managers 12%
Consultants 9%
Journalists 8%
Authors/writers 7.50%
Web developers 7.30%

A few of my most influential followers: Om Malik, Kara Swisher, Veronica Belmont, Google, iJustine, Michael Arrington, David Pogue, Whole Foods, Tony Robbins, Dooce, Arianna Huffington, Rachel Maddow, Starbucks Coffee, Anderson Cooper, George Stephanopoulos, Steven Johnson, Cory Doctorow, Facebook, Nicholas Kristof, Ana Marie Cox, Jenna Wortham, Ann Curry, Adventure Girl, Amy Jo Martin, Southwest, David Allen, Larry King, Dr. Drew, Brandon Mendelson, American Express, Yahoo, Amazon.com, Ford, Intel, Dell, Outlet, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Home Depot, American Airlines, PepsiCo, Apple, Coca-Cola, Smithsonian, Nordstrom, Amnesty International, AT&T, McDonald’s, Nike, CBOE, Room to Read, World Wildlife Fund, Refugee Agency, Lowe’s, Greenpeace, Staples, MoveOn.org, The Vatican

Would you like to recommend a guest for Lisacast?

Would you like to listen to previous shows?

I Got Nerdy With It (“It” Being Jennifer Ruggerio)

2 hours. That’s a record. Not for continuous nerd talk, but for a recorded version that stretched from North Carolina, to Texas, to here in California. Listen below if you dare. Share if you care.

Get Nerdy With It

Thank you, Jennifer. Hope to have you on Lisacast soon!