The idea of staying away from our mobile phones these days is scary. It’s also quite understandable in our mobile driven world and internet society. Our entire lives have moved online. From learning to social reputation, digital is the name of the game. With the coronavirus pandemic, digital is no longer an option. It is the new normal. What with our traditional schools operating fully online now? Even medical appointments can occur online. The digital world was quick to save the day amidst the grave inconveniences of the last year.
And that is both good and bad.
We’re connected across borders around the clock. The world is a bit closer together. This is pretty exciting. Yet, the effects of taking all of society online is taking ALL OF IT – the good, the bad, the ugly. Digital connectedness does not make people better. Instead, it provides them more convenience and a larger playing field to exhibit who they are. Digital connectedness is the expanding of both opportunities and catastrophe at all levels of society.
What does this mean for you?
It means that you get to deal with issues such as cyberbullying, cancel culture, body shaming, and more. Traditional society had all these but the digital stamp of approval skyrockets them causing them to get to proportions that were hitherto unimaginable.
Perhaps, it’s time to turn off your phone.
Could Turning off the Phone be Good for our Mental Health?
The plain answer is yes.
Unplugging from our devices in the digital world is fast becoming a necessity for anyone who wants to flee the insanity and lead a REAL normal life.
All the opportunities are there. Good things can get viral in the same way bad things can as long as you are in the right circle. But even that can be overwhelming too. You can get the sense of not being at par with the achievements of your contemporaries and that’s not so great either. However you look at the situation, turning off your phone is a major win.
You need to unplug to preserve your mental health. You need to teach your children, your tweens and teens to do the same. At the end of the day, our immediate environment is our real world at every moment. We need to learn once again to be present in our moments, to enjoy the beauty of nature, to get immersed in our environment. And when we need some inspiration, we can turn on the phone again. But only to see those people who enable us experience the positives of a digitally connected world. Not the cyberbullies or the body shamers but the ones who uplift us and propel us to succeed. The ones who celebrate our wins and will not mind dropping by for our themed parties as well.
Excessive Screen Time May Be Harming Us
These are the ones who remind us that our lives go beyond the screen. That our lives are tangible. That our lives are happening and we need to get involved in it.
Excessive screen time has been traced to a lot of adverse effects like lose of concentration, decreased productivity, reduced sleep quality, toxic relationships and loss of touch with our immediate environment. Phone addiction can cause us to phubb our partner which is a term for ignoring them while we stay fixated on our device. It can fuel negative feelings causing us to feel bad about ourselves or get jealous or angry right after checking out our friends. Staying hooked to our phones throughout the day can reduce our productivity causing us to achieve much less than we normally do. It affects our cognition tampering with our memory, our ability to prioritize, and our focus. When we take our phones to bed, we have higher difficulty falling asleep. People undergoing anxiety and depression use their phones for avoidance instead of tackling their negative feelings. They sometimes subdue these feelings by mindlessly scrolling through social media. Keeping the phone aside can lead to healthier relationships with yourself and with others. You can also achieve more. You even get to enjoy your partner’s company more.
So, what can you do?
Before you pick up the phone again, stop for a moment to think about the effects. Ask yourself if what you want to check can really not wait until later. Chances are it may not be so important after all. Instead of scrolling through your phone the entire day, schedule your phone time. Have a lot of work emails to view? Set aside time in your day to do that. Want to check up on your friends through social media? A certain time within your day may be more beneficial for this. Keep your phone aside and concentrate on your tasks. Set goals and focus on achieving them. Remember that your brain cannot really multitask. To achieve exceptional results, you have to give your full concentration to your tasks. To achieve more from your moments, you have to put your phone down and listen to the person speaking to you across the room. You have to learn to enjoy your experiences by turning off the phone.
When you are with your loved ones, keep your phone aside and have conversations with them. Listen with your full attention. Your relationships will be better for it. Whether you are at the dinner table or just spending free time with your partner, decide not to let your phone get in the way. Think about how much time you would save when you live off your screen. Use that time to accomplish your tasks and increase your productivity. Create a plan on how to beat negative feelings instead of avoiding them through social media. At bed time, keep the phone away. Use alarm clocks and leave your phone in a separate room if necessary.
Overcoming screen addiction and all the negative effects that come with it takes conscious efforts. Chances are the positives of staying hooked to your phone do not really need as much time.