Mindful Messaging: Why LOL Just Doesn't Cut It
Yoga Journal|January - February 2022
Sure, it’s easy to fire off those little blue messages. But these tips can help you slow down your communications and practice intentionality.
By Gina Tomaine, Illustration and Photography by We Are/Getty Images

I’VE BEEN CALLED a chronically “bad” texter. That means if you text me, I might get back to you late that evening. Or the next day. Or the following Tuesday. I just don’t think texts require an instantaneous response. For me a text is like email; I’ll respond when I can.

I’ve never considered how thoughtful my text messaging strategy is. But maybe I should. “Texting is an extension of communication somewhere between verbal and written. It isn’t quite either, and yet it’s also both at the same time,” says Ric Mathews, a yoga teacher and psychotherapist based in New York. “Given that an enormous amount of our communication today is via text, treating it with the same mindfulness we bring to face-to-face conversations can mean the difference between fortifying relationships or damaging them.”

Applying the core tenets of yoga philosophy to our texting practices promotes compassion, empathy, and self-awareness—the building blocks of good communication. I asked Mathews and other experts to shed some light on how we can apply yoga principles to our messaging to strengthen our bonds with other people.

Rely on the Breath

Though not responding to a message right away might seem rude, it may actually be healthier to take a breath first.

“I’ve found that [breathing is] a helpful tool to invite more intention and ease into my texting etiquette,” says Jung Kim, a Philadelphia–based yoga teacher. She suggests practicing pranayama before responding to a text. “Especially if there’s a message that stirs up a little ‘spice’ in how we feel. A little breath goes a long way.”

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