4.5
January 4, 2021

Put Down your Damn Phone.

 

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…Unless of course, you are reading this on your cell phone, then you may proceed.

If you are anything like I was before quitting socials and began studying the art of mindfulness, you are constantly on your phone.

You can’t stand in a lineup without checking it, sit at a red light, go to the washroom, or have coffee with a friend without grabbing your device to either document the moment or to see what you are missing. It has just become an extension of you.

I was quite possibly the worst-case scenario as far as phone addicts go, so no judgment here.

I want to give you a scenario: put down your damn phone. Look up. Be fully present in the moment, even if it is mundane. I notice my husband will grab his cell phone if I pause the TV show we are watching to get a snack—a knee-jerk reaction. He will immediately grab it.

I was the same, but here is the thing, if we do not allow our brains to just be with their own unique thoughts, we will lose who we are as a person.

I know this sounds dramatic but we don’t ever give our minds time to develop our own thoughts as we are always distracting it with something. A news story, an Instagram photo, a Twitter post…slowly stripping away our ability to be mindful and think for ourselves.

Phone addiction is real and it is hard to quit. I had to make a conscious effort not to check because aside from what the distraction is doing to our minds, it is absolutely affecting our relationships.

Quality time is completely trumped by your phone whether you want to admit it or not. Your spouse notices, your children notice, your friends notice.

I, of course, still check my phone, but I am not at all tied to it anymore.

If you want to know how I broke the addiction, it is quite simple. I made an effort to stop multitasking with my phone.

For example, when I am sitting with my kids, I do not have it. If I am watching a show with my husband before bed, I leave my phone upstairs. When we can finally go back to family dinners every Saturday, I will leave my phone in my purse, allowing my brain to create a beautiful memory of my kids playing with their cousins, which is not physically possible if we are distracting ourselves. Our brain will forget. There is a difference between remembering a memory through our photos and videos versus our actual brain.

Give kids, for example—my children can still remember vivid details from our Disney cruise five years ago. They remember what the sand felt like, the temperature of the ocean, the smell of the bed linens. This is because children live in the moment. Those are memories that photos and videos cannot give you and those are the ones that last.

Alternatively, if I am sitting in my car waiting to pick up my kids, I will read something on my phone. When they are at school, I am on my phone. It is about being mindful of where you are and who you are with and deciding if they deserve your full attention or not. Not just instinctively grabbing this insignificant device that has a hold over your life.

If you start to pay attention to how often you are on your phone, I am sure it will surprise you.

Another important change I made is being selective about what I read and watch on my phone. It has to bring me value or I will not waste my time. For example, a Youtube video by an inspirational person (Jay Shetty is my favourite), a text to a good friend, sharing something funny on my family chat (as opposed to before when I’d share it to Instagram for people who really didn’t care), an enlightening blog, and so on. I now view things that leave me feeling happier, smarter, inspired.

Find something that brings you joy—away from your phone. Find your creativity again—because most of us have lost it in an endless scroll of photos.

I believe that the biggest regret every single human being alive right now will have on their death bed is not living in the moment and fully appreciating the people around us. We will regret wasting years of our lives on something completely insignificant. Wasting our lives away on an unhealthy addiction that doesn’t even bring us joy. It is profoundly sad.

Please share if you found this at all helpful or even if it just made you second think about your phone habits.

If I was able to break away, you can too.

~

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