Technology and Mindfulness
With smartphones being an integral part of our daily lives for work, communication, entertainment and information providing many benefits, lets dig down some more.
Recent statistics show we are looking at our phones up to 96 times a day with some even more so. I actually high five myself the weekly notification says my time is down. The alarming thing is that the 96 times is already a 20 percent rise than the year before (2020) and they say its set to keep increasing.
There is now a name for smartphone compulsion called Nomophobia – the fear of being phoneless . Go ahead, look it up (ironically). The constant need to check notifications and messages can lead to a release of dopamine in our brains but also lead to a feeling of anxiety, overwhelm and stress. Most of us aren’t even aware that our smartphone can makes us depressed, lonely, and anxious. Having failed at this many times by scrawling through someone’s profile literally wasting hours.
We all know that smartphones disrupts our sleep with the blue light interfering with the production of melatonin, the hormone needed for sleep. Physically, tech neck is a real thing and caused by prolonged bending of the neck while looking at a screen. This can cause back and shoulder pain, headaches, and other symptoms. But what can we do about it I hear you say?
Practicing mindfulness is not an easy task with streams of data and information right at your fingertips. With constant notifications it can be easy to get distracted while even communicating face to face with a friend, colleague or loved one.5-Steps to help you with phone compulsion
Turn off your phone at least an hour before bed – try it
Give your brain a chance to unwind and commit to turning off your phone an hour before bedtime. That means off, not just on silent. Those vibrations and blinking lights are still harmful, as is knowing that you’re just one reach away from seeing the latest. Remember, nomophobia never sleeps and neither will you. Is this why we are always tired perhaps? But I use my phone as my alarm clock,” you say. “I need it nearby!” To that I respond by saying buy an alarm clock
Stop sleeping with your phone
Get a real alarm clock (yes, you can still find these Stone Age relics). Not only will this allow you to turn off your phone completely overnight (again, unless you need to stay on alert for a family member and don’t have a landline), but instead of waking up with the temptation to see what you missed overnight, you can spend the first moments of the morning stretching, thinking about what’s on schedule for the day or mindfully getting ready for the day
Set certain times to check your phone
Do you really need to read every email as soon as it arrives? By setting aside specific times to check your phone, you can save your sanity while also increasing your productivity.
For example, before sitting down at your desk to work, you might want to do a five-minute sweep of your social networks and email, then hide your phone away for the next hour, taking five-minute breaks.
Establish phone-free zones
I'm sure I'm not the only one who is horrified that smartphones are interfering with people's private lives. Having said that, designating certain places and times as phone-free zones is an excellent way to combat nomophobia.
Mealtimes are a good place to start because you can practise mindful eating and engaging conversation instead of scrolling and chewing.
Just say no to phones in bed.
Engage in real human contact
Finally, rather than "connecting" with friends and family via social media, try spending some quality time with them. Instead of "liking" your cousin's status, call him and tell him the story. Instead of that group text, make a coffee date with friends. Send a thoughtful card to a friend. It makes sense.
We are social beings who thrive on genuine human interaction. That is something that a smartphone simply cannot replicate. Try it, and remember its all practice.