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Reflections on bringing mindfulness to Web3 on World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is the perfect time to talk about how mental health has been and continues to be affected and changed by technology. Let's look at the progress being made towards a more mindful virtual world.

World Mental Health Day is the perfect time to talk about how mental health has been and continues to be affected and changed by technology. Let's look at the progress being made towards a more mindful virtual world.

Web2—the version of the internet most of us know today—brought us together in extraordinary ways. As a result, our world is more connected than ever, with reports showing more than five billion internet users worldwide and 59% of the world's population using social media platforms.

We now have the amazing ability to reach, teach, befriend, and learn from humans around the globe: a privilege our ancestors never could have dreamed of. 

While tech isn’t without its cautions, many enlightened innovators have invented ways to use tech for good, helping to bring about calm, togetherness, and a sense of community that, for many, may not exist otherwise. 

At Maloka, we’ve seen the impact of coming together in mindfulness across the country. Whether it’s connecting via our Facebook platform, in a live session with a world-renowned breathwork expert, or perhaps just with your own spirit while in the Maloka universe, we’ve seen some beautiful moments occur thanks to technology.

This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) is dedicating World Mental Health Day 2022 to the goal of "Making Mental Health & Well-Being for All a Global Priority." And we couldn’t agree more.

In alignment with the WHO goals, our mission at Maloka is to create a community of one hundred million meditators. Sound like something you want to be a part of? Read on to learn what role meditation, Web3, and even you can play in this global theme and call to action. 

Web2: learn from the present

For better or worse, digital overwhelm is real. According to Pew Research, 31% of U.S. adults report going online "almost constantly." Research from Deloitte also shows that 38% of adults have difficulty regulating their use of devices.

We can all relate. 

The internet is filled to the brim with so much interesting, useful, and entertaining info, and let’s be honest, it’s designed to be addictive. Most of us are like kids in a candy store; we just can’t get enough of the sweet stuff. 

But titans of the internet world didn't exactly protect its gates from the dark forces. As a result, we continue to see mental health issues, harassment, and socio-political problems on the rise.

It's been scientifically proven that the overuse of tech can negatively impact humans mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Never-ending feeds, centralization of power, FoMo, and burnout are the price we pay for living in a hyper-connected world. 

Most Web2 products aim to maximize time on site. And as a result, users suffer from decreased mental health and overall well-being. The goals of these platforms are diametrically opposed to our own;f they win, we lose. 

But there’s also a light in the darkness.

Web3 can be seen as a continuation of what the internet started—bringing people together in ways that were never possible before.

As we look ahead, we want to learn from our present and aim to do better in the future. By decentralizing ownership, creating opportunities for all, and approaching the next generation of the web mindfully, we can create a more open and fair internet that will be more equitable for everyone.

Designing a mindful metaverse

Web3 provides hope by allowing us to design new technologies with novel incentives. It lets us build from ethical foundations with intentions of progress for the many instead of focusing solely on profits for the few.

The Web3 movement is a decentralized, open-source web platform—a new way to organize the internet. And we have the opportunity to do it in a more intentional way this time around.

The importance of mental health and wellness in Web3

A recent CNN poll finds that 90% of U.S. adults say the United States is experiencing a mental health crisis. 

Instead of going deeper into this rabbit hole of negativity we see happening in Web2, we have the power to make a change. As we move into this new frontier of Web3, our goal is to  approach it more mindfully, with the intention of creating more community and bringing more positivity, love, and light into every space we enter, be it virtually or in real life. 

Make space for mental health and wellness

The world is finally taking notice of the mental health crisis we've found ourselves in. Data published by the CDC shows that mental health treatment is slowly becoming more common, with 22% of adults getting help in 2021, up from 19% in 2019.

It’s news in the right direction, but there's still a lot of work to be done. 

Let's start by normalizing mental health issues. Speak up about the challenges you're personally facing and the avenues you've taken to turn things around—whether it be therapy, self-help books, or a mindfulness practice. 

Take time out of your day to check in on your friends and family, especially the ones you know are going through a rough patch. Hold space for others and offer your support. Invite them to a yoga class, gift them a book that inspires you, send them a goofy meme every morning, or  encourage them to seek professional help. 

Accept the challenges of this moment, and anticipate the challenges of tomorrow

Limit screen time - While technological advancements have brought us so many opportunities, there can be too much of a good thing. Several large studies have found that heavy technology users are twice as likely as light users to be depressed or have low well-being. With Maloka, we made it a priority that our goal is never about maximizing your time in the Maloka world or your Oculus headset. Instead, it’s about showing up every day for as long as feels best for you, whether that’s five minutes or 15.

Practice digital minimalism, a term popularized by author Cal Newport and defined as "A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things that you value, and then happily miss out on everything else."

Let go of fluctuating NFT and cryptocurrency values - The world of Web3 is always on. And with it comes the urge to stay glued to your screens, constantly checking the ever-changing values of your NFTs and crypto accounts. Just like the stock market, these values will go up and down. Let go of anxiety and trust the process. Consider limiting the number of times you access your accounts per week because worrying about it will never change the outcome. It will be what it will be.

Remember your innate value - Yes, you’re clearly one of the cool kids on the cutting edge of a whole new world. But your self-worth is not tied to your possession of crypto assets. You were born worthy. Period.

Connect to the real world - Web3 is a wonderland, as is planet Earth. Create balance by spending less time online and more time in nature with loved ones and seeking adventure IRL.

Get grounded - Take time daily to go within. Breathe. And just be. Devote time to a mindfulness or meditation practice to ground yourself. The old saying goes, "You can't pour from an empty cup." Use mindfulness and self-love as a foundation for connecting with others.

Be intentional with the products, worlds, and communities we build

Build better - Remember that what you build matters. It can be used to build someone up or tear them down. It can create a sense of calm or a sense of chaos. It can be built on a scarcity mindset or an abundance mindset. Choose consciously.

Lead with kindness - Let us be respectful of the opinions of all community members. We should encourage restraint from hateful, angry, abusive, or reactionary comments and work to spread messages of love. 

Foster inclusivity - Aim to create products, worlds, and communities that are welcoming and accessible to everyone at all price points.

Cultivate connection - Let's begin to discourage portraying false realities through content. And instead, create a metaverse that facilitates genuine human connection and compliments the real world.

Web3 tools can help improve mental health

The future of Web3 is promising, as it can provide immersive experiences that will help people stay mindful throughout the day. In an ideal metaverse where decentralized apps are completely controlled by their users, this new system will create an opportunity for a more directly democratic society and promote privacy, transparency, and empowerment for all. 

Virtual reality provides a new way for people to experience the world. VR/AR workouts, yoga, and meditations are just a few of the applications pioneering the movement of health and well-being in Web3. Let’s have fun with it!

Heal through meditation

Ultimately, we’re all just trying to do the best we can as human beings to leave the world better off than when we came into it. We can accomplish that through an awareness of the systems that currently exist and by paying attention to what needs to change and understanding what we can do to change it.

In a world of constant distraction, meditation is considered by many to be the ultimate self-care practice. It can help us focus on the present moment and find peace in our lives.

If we want to heal the world, we must first heal ourselves. Therefore, we commit to fostering our own mindfulness journey by taking a moment daily to just sit and focus on our breath. Because starting or growing our own practice is the single most impactful contribution we can make toward a Mindful Metaverse.

Will you join us?