I'm part of a moms group at church and one of the speakers recently spoke on the topic of rest, which can be so hard to find in our busy lives, that are bombarded by distraction. The speaker mentioned a book called How to Break Up with your Phone, and the title grabbed my attention, because I've had this nagging feeling that there is a better way, but wasn't sure how to go about it exactly.
I have felt really convicted (not guilty) about my smartphone usage. I want to boldly say that smartphones are not evil, and they can be used in a healthy moderate way. However I think much of our society has fallen into the trap of being, dare I say it, addicted to their smartphones. I'm sharing this with you in a real way and I hope for no judgement from you AND you will get no judgement from me.
After reading How to Break up with your phone, I opted to give it a go and see how it effected me.
"...the most surprising poll result is this : according to the 2017 edition of the American Psychological Association's yearly Stress in America report, nearly two-thirds of American adults agree that periodically 'unplugging' or taking a 'digital detox' would be good for their mental health. And yet barely a quarter of those people have done so themselves." pg. 7
Here are my biggest take-aways....
1. Easier to regulate my own emotions (this might sound odd) but the book shares research that actually says that smartphones make it difficult to regulate you own emotions because we are constantly bombarded with others emotions and constantly distracted. I personally have no problem feeling others pain, but the thing is, I want to feel the pain of those I am in close proximity with, not the pain from wearing the weight of the world on my shoulders. It's called boundaries, people.
2. I have less anxiety because I'm not stressed out from mindlessly checking my phone and in turn wasting time. Plus, being constantly available, also causes us to be constantly interrupted and disappointed when we are living in that "fear of missing out" mentality.
The author shares "What's more, far from relieving my anxiety, checking my phone nearly always contributed to it. I'd look at it for a second before bed, notice a stressful e-mail in my inbox, and then lie awake for an hour worrying about something that could have easily waited until morning. I'd reach for it to give myself a break, and then end up feeling exhausted and wired. I claimed not to have time to pursue interests outside of work, but was that true?" pg. 9
3. I have more time for the people I love, spending time with God, and hobbies, and even boring things, like cleaning my house. I'm less distracted and more aware of the beauty in my everyday life, not constantly looking at others lives and comparing/judging my life in comparision.
4. I am a more patient mom! No no no, not perfect, far from it, but I'm more patient and less irritated. If I had known earlier how my smartphone was affecting my parenting, I would have done this detox/addiction breaking a long time ago.
5. More positive perspective on life and easier to experience joy. Yes, you heard that, it is easier to experience joy when you aren't addicted to your phone,
How to do it yourself.....well first and foremost, read the book, that's my first advice but if you're not gonna do that.....here are some tips I gleaned.
1. Pay attention to WHEN you reach for your phone, HOW YOU FEEL BEFORE checking your phone AND HOW YOU FEEL AFTER checking your phone. This mindfulness exercise should help you be more aware of whether your phone is ADDING to your life, or taking away.
2. Add a physical reminder, I placed a rubber band around my phone, top to bottom so I couldn't easily use it, and this reminder helped me to think before I just grabbed my phone out of habit.
3. Delete social media apps from your phone. This "infinite scroll" apps, designed to make you addicted are so easy to suck in hours of your time.
4. Download an app that tracks how often you check your phone. I have "checky" on my phone, it's free and very revealing.
5. Turn off notifications, I have all of mine off except for phone calls. Yep, even text messages are off, so don't expect me to respond to you right away.
Ok, I could seriously go on and on and on about this topic and the point of me sharing is not to make you feel bad or guilty, if you feel you have no problem with being addicted to your smartphone then that's awesome and you are the minority. My hubby for instance, he definitely is not addicted to his, actually everyone in his life knows to include me in conversations if they want an answer from him in a timely manner, ha ha.