Does your phone never stop pinging? Is your inbox filled with notifications from all your different social media accounts? Can you hear the impatience in the voice of your partner/friends/family because they know you aren’t paying attention? These days so many of us are too attached to our phones and screens. We are like zombies stumbling through life, bumping into each other, glued to a glowing rectangle disconnecting us from our physical reality.
The amount of information available to us these days is overwhelming and quite addictive. The world is literally at our fingertips, yet I spend a lot of time online looking at cats. However, with all of that information most of us just refresh our Facebook newsfeed or check e-mails. The power of this online world is apparent as it takes us away from the present moment.
If you find your time is filled with screens and you want to plug back into the world around you, here are some tips:
- Don’t let the internet start your day. Instead of waking up and checking your twitter, wake up and see how you feel. Stretch, take deep breaths and think about all you have to be grateful for.
- Don’t go online until you get to work, or until an hour into your day. Allow that time for you, check in with your thoughts and feelings. Instead of reading about all that is happening in the world of others, notice what’s happening in the world of you.
- Focus on the real relationships. Don’t just chat to people through a screen, meet for coffee, be present to them and put the phones aside.
- Make blocks of time where there will be no internet usage and do something positive. Why not start reading a new book, go for a walk, meditate or take up a new hobby?
How many hours a day are you in front of a phone/laptop/tablet/computer/television? The average is about 6 hours a day, however if you need a screen for work it would be at least 8. If you are awake for about 15 hours a day then about 40% of your day is in front of a glowing box. This can have negative effects on sleep patterns, attention span, emotional reactions and can even lead to brain damage. These are all very detrimental side effects, especially since there is a very simple solution. Turn it off.
Being connected to each other is what this journey of life is all about. Although the internet can bring us together and it can also pull us apart. There’s nothing wrong with awkward eye contact on a busy bus or occasionally being bored. We don’t need to fill our time with screens, we need to treasure the moments without them.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamott