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Mindful Cell Phone Use

Mindful Cell Phone Use

The topic for this months blog came to me while on vacation. I’m actually writing this on our last morning in the Bahamas. All week the only way to have cell phone service was to pay almost $25 a day for WiFi (yikes!). We used it once all week, just to check in with family. I thought separating from my phone would be harder, but it was actually amazing! I didn’t miss it at all. I didn’t even remember to carry it with me (to take pictures).

Throughout the week, I noticed a few things by not having my phone.

I remembered how nice it is to just sit. Sit with my thoughts, people watch, notice my surroundings. One night my husband and daughter went into a store while I decided to sit outside. I was keenly aware that if this were at home where I have cell service, I would have pulled out my phone for those few minutes. But instead, I just sat. There were many families walking around going to and from dinner, shopping, etc. I watched cute little kids light up when their parents said they were getting ice cream. I watched kids dancing unabashedly to the music being played. I saw couples holding hands, walking slowly down the street.

I know for a fact that by taking a few minutes to just sit and enjoy my surroundings, I felt much calmer than had I spent those few minutes checking email and/or Facebook. You may be thinking, sure you were in the Bahamas of course you felt relaxed, and yes that’s part of it. But had I been on my phone, I am positive it would have changed my focus, taken me away from the present, maybe causing stress or anxiety pending what I was looking at. I bet I would have been more distracted when my family came back as well.

How often do you have a few minutes free and not pull out your phone?

I know I’m guilty of it on a daily basis. I’m going to make a concerted effort to do this much less once I’m home.

Mid-week when I did check emails, texts, etc. I realized something else. As I scanned my emails etc., looking for only the truly important information, there wasn’t much that really mattered, or couldn’t wait. I know I tend to feel like I’ve got to keep on top of everything because there might be something really important, but how often is that the case? Because of our constant availability now, it feels as though everything has to be instantaneous but I believe this is really taking a toll on our health.

One of my favorite meditation apps is called Simply Being.

The soothing woman’s voice guides you to simply be, no where to go, nothing to do for these few minutes. It is the simplest concept but one that is getting more and more lost in our daily lives. The term cell phone addiction is being thrown around more these days but it is becoming a real problem for a lot of people. And I believe it will be an even larger problem for the younger generations, as this is all they have ever known.

I wrote a blog in the past about social media use. Many of the same tips apply.

First, you have to realize the ways your phone use is affecting you negatively, then install some parameters for yourself. Setting timers, alerts, only check emails or social media at certain times of the day. I heard the suggestion on a podcast to have cell phone free Saturdays with the family, if not the whole day, at least a few hours. With the holidays quickly approaching, this is a great time to really enjoy the present, no cell phones while decorating the tree or while watching a holiday movie.

If you’d like to “simply be” more often, feel free to contact me to discuss how you can be less tethered to technology and connect more with yourself, your family and your life.

Kathy Most
Therapist in Westfield, NJ
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