Do You Have a Healthy Relationship With Your Smartphone?
Do you remember a time, WAY back in the 1900s 😉, when cell phones were primarily used for…making calls? For some of us, they originated under the pretense of “for emergencies only”. Then right around 1990, the New York Times reported that “everyone from drug dealers to taco vendors” owned one. Well, she’s come a looooong way. In fact, it’s hard and even a bit painful to think of life without our smartphones. And, ironically enough, we all use them for so many things like consuming news, entertainment, online banking, shopping, navigation, social media, and communication. And stats show using them to actually make phone calls is pretty low on the usage list. So, let’s talk about the revered smartphone, consider its negative effects (there are a few), and how to have a healthy relationship with your Smartphone.
Rise & Shine (Actually!)
The first thing many of us do in the morning is check our phones. For news, texts, and other notifications we missed while asleep. During one of the courses we took at Miraval while on our team retreat, they talked about how we let “others” into our day before we’ve even entirely woken up. The day starts with an email scroll or news update and that immediately captures us. Without even realizing it, we have set the tone for the day by what these outside influences have dictated. Mel Robbins describes this as…”Before we get ourselves right, we give up our best commodity (ourselves) to complete strangers.”
The Miraval solution? Before reaching for your device in the morning, take a few deep breaths. Set an intention for the day or think about coming into your body slowly. Think about something you appreciate…FIRST. Did you sleep well? Is the sun shining? Do you have fun plans? Even if you know a difficult or busy day is ahead, try to find gratitude in at least one thing. They explained that this can completely change your focus and mental well-being. Now YOU are in control. You are setting the tone for the day before you let anything else in. You know you’ve graduated with flying colors when you can reach for your first cup of coffee or tea before you reach for your phone. Goals!
One of Erin’s new feel-good routines is her Infared sauna blanket (pictured above). You can read all about it, how she uses it, and why it makes a difference here.
Cell Phone Notifications
When a notification comes through on your phone, it’s an immediate disruption to whatever you’re doing. If you hear a text notification while you’re in the shower do you wonder, “Well now what?” or “What am I missing?”. Many of us are conditioned to think we need to react or respond to that notification right away. Like Pavlov’s Dog, it’s classical conditioning! Notifications actually increase the presence of the stress hormone, cortisol, in our brains. When working, we really can’t get away from notifications as many times these alert us to something we need to do. But, the Miraval class suggested we can think of these notifications differently.
In fact, they suggested we think of them completely differently! Instead of “ping” I need to do something, they suggested we think of those alerts as moments of mindfulness. What? OK, stay with us here for a minute. If each notification bell stimulated our brain to take a breath or a quick break… how would that feel? Instead of “something needs to be taken care of”, we switch to…this is a reminder to roll my shoulders back. Or think of something positive. Or get up and stretch. Very different, right?
Social Media The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
It’s difficult to imagine life before social media. Aside from using it daily for our jobs, it’s also a source of entertainment and communication. We can see what our friends are up to, find the perfect coat for winter, and watch endless pet videos.
But, there can be an ickiness to social media too. It can trigger feelings of less than. Have any of these thoughts ever popped into your mind while scrolling?
- Her life seems so perfect and mine isn’t.
- She can afford things I can’t.
- That short haircut looks awful on her!
- Who does she think she is?
- Of course, she looks good in that dress…she’s a size 0.
- That couple is taking another beach vacation? What the heck!?
Those were just a few examples of ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) that can trigger us because we can’t help but compare ourselves to others. Instead of being happy for others or seeing the positive, we immediately size up our own bodies, financial situations, families, and relationships and compare them to the highlight reel that someone we follow shares on their social media. When someone shares excitement for a new job, a new baby or home, you might not know the struggle they had in getting there. If ANTs are taking over your scroll, it might be time to take a break.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
You can steer your own ship. You are the captain! If you need a break from social media just delete the app from your phone for a week or 2 and see how that makes you feel. Even just a temporary shift in the way you think about and consume social media might be the ticket to happiness and improving your relationship with your smartphone and social media.
Since chances are at least some of you read this article…on your smartphone…thank you! We certainly couldn’t operate a successful business without our phones and without you. BUT, the key in how you relate to what you consume and how your feel when receiving notifications, might just make for a healthier relationship with your phone and social media. When our team was asked to rate our own relationship with our phones and social media on a scale of 1 to 10, our average was 5. Some 8s and some 2s were in there as well. So, we have some work to do on our end and we thought we’d share what our own journeys will entail.
If you want to join in on the conversation, tell us…what is YOUR relationship with your phone and social media on a scale of 1 (no bueno!) to 10 (most excellent)? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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