Can you remember the last time you chose to disconnect from technology?
Does the idea frighten you?
It frightens most of us. Our phones have become a way to distract us and pull us away from everyday situations. Next time you’re on an elevator, see how many people are staring at their phones to avoid making eye contact. If you’re having dinner with friends or family, do you still feel the need to check your phone? It’s a compulsive reach just to reassure us that we are still connected and that a distraction is right there when needed.
Try this: notice throughout the day, how often you touch your pocket out of habit to make sure your phone is there, or touch the home button just to light up the screen even though there is nothing that needs your attention.
Do you type in your pin just to “check the time” or “check the battery” even though you already know? It is a comforting habit to check that everything is handled and there is nothing that needs attention, but if we use it as a crutch to take us away from the moment, what good is it doing? We need to learn to be.
When was the last time you stopped everything and just existed? No phone, no TV, just you. Does this sound uncomfortable to you?
Try it. Sit down, and just be. Just breathe. Listen to your heart beat. Don’t worry about anything, just be in that moment. Hear the sounds around you, observe what is going on, but deny that impulse to distract yourself with technology.
If you are with your friends or family, be with them. Don’t let your phone take you away, don’t be afraid of making eye contact or engaging in conversation. When the conversation ends, still just be there. Don’t look for a distraction and don’t be afraid of the pause in everyday life.
Here’s a secret. It is ok to just stop and be for a moment.
Try to wean yourself off of these distractions. See how long you can go without plugging in to technology. With the exception of sleeping, we are glued to our phones during waking hours, so try to put it down. Don’t carry it room to room, just leave it.
If you need something to do, try to read a new book, or work on a hobby, learn a musical instrument, go for a walk. But just leave the phone alone. It is a wonderful thing having access to all the world at our fingertips, but it is a tool to improve your life, not to take you away from it.
Try going an hour without it…. Now two….. Three. Can you make it all day? Can you make it a weekend?
It’s time to recharge YOUR battery, not just your phone’s battery.