Today, people use the word "mindful" to describe a host of behaviors—work, eating, communication, and more. It tends to be shorthand to describe the "deliberate act of paying attention to the present moment, without judgment."
While mindfulness has gained traction as a trend, most of us are more familiar with what it feels like to be mindless. If you've ever opened a bag of chips only to realize they're gone five minutes later, you know what mindlessness is. It's being on autopilot. Melli O'Brien, one of Australia's top mindfulness experts, has said,
"When we slip into autopilot (as over 47 percent of us often do)…our attention is absorbed in our wandering minds and we're not really 'present' in our own lives."
Technology has made it easier than ever to go on autopilot. Have you ever zoned out on Instagram, scrolling through photos only to realize 15 minutes have gone by? What about Tinder, which keeps users hooked in with its game-ified swipe function, triggering that dopamine rush that makes you want to keep going?
Since their goal is to keep you on the page longer, even though you might have the best of intentions, online dating apps can easily lull you into a mindless haze that sucks away hours of your time. You might be wondering if there's even a way to approach online dating mindfully. The short answer is...maybe.
Before you rely on a mindful dating app to do the work for you, you may want to press pause and make a few tweaks yourself.
First, create an honest profile that reflects the true you.
Then, make a list of your nonnegotiables in a relationship.
Next, set an intention for what you want to get out of this process. Meaning, do you want volume (a lot of dates to help you narrow in on what you really want), or do you want to go on as few first dates as possible and get into a serious relationship within a certain time frame? If you don't know what you want, you'll have a much harder time finding it.
Once you're prepared to make those adjustments, here are a few of the more mindful dating apps to explore:
Interested in things like yoga, meditation, green living, personal growth, and Brené Brown? Meetmindful is for you.
Their tagline is "where mindful living meets mindful dating." This is the place for people who already define themselves as mindful. They're drinking the Kool-Aid (or green juice) and are ready to meet others who are doing the same. Are you engaged with yoga, mindfulness practices, green living, personal growth? Meetmindful narrows the lens through which you filter your potential interests to help you meet a like-minded soul.
Looking for your twin soul? Try Sapio.
They call themselves "the only app that gets to the core of people through their lived experiences, heartfelt opinions and bold passions." Sapio was founded by two women who want to help you to connect with others based on similar answers to open-ended questions. On Sapio, you can see answers to three questions from each user you view but only once you've answered the questions yourself.
This app, which refers to itself as #ladieschoice, sends women six matches (called bagels) per day, so you don't have to spend your day trolling the site. CMB curates the best potential matches for the woman based on a process they do with guys first.
If you're willing to answer hundreds of questions up front in order to maximize compatibility, eHarmony is for you.
The site has a comprehensive set of questions that allows them to really get to know you deeply, in order to match you more conscientiously with potential partners. Their tagline? "Beat the odds. Bet on Love."
If you believe in science above all, Zoosk is right up your alley.
Zoosk's algorithmic matchmaking service provides a list of compatibility questions. The more questions you answer, the better your matches will be. They say they constantly improve their algorithm to find your best match. But you'll want to put some effort into those questions because Zoosk only sends through one match a day—you'll want it to be good.
Once you've found your match made in nirvana, continue your mindful lifestyles through couples' meditations designed to help you cultivate your best relationship ever.