It is always there--in your pocket, in your hands. In someone else's hands. On your desk. On the dinner table. It is everywhere. What is it? Your cell phone.
We are the generation growing up with our cell phones in our hands and our eyes glued to the screen. We embed our lives within our phones, from Instagram to Snapchat and more. That is how we stay updated on, well, everything. But what if we put our cell phones down? What if we left them at home for the day? What if we turned them off for an hour or two? What could we learn, gain, experience from disconnecting ourselves from our phones? I guess you won't know unless you see for yourself.
I am not saying cut yourself off from your cell phone as if you are some kind of addict (though some of us may be). I am encouraging you to try to experience just a small moment in your life with an true interaction of undivided attention. There are simple steps to resisting the temptation of our phones:
Rethink the effects. When you go and check your favorite social media site, how does it make you feel? Social media use increases awareness of events in the lives of others. This awareness is sometimes linked to higher levels of stress, which could be linked to a feeling we all know, called FOMO (fear of missing out). If we didn’t constantly check our sites, we wouldn’t be affected by them and instead of feeling like we are missing out from looking at a Instagram picture, we would get to enjoy the moment right in front of us.
Rethink the urge. As you reach to check your phone, pause and stop yourself. Ask yourself what are you going to gain by looking at your phone. Hold back--what if you’re in the middle of dinner at your grandma’s 80th birthday, or in a conversation with someone who wants to confide in you about something important in their life? Whatever the case may be, try to remember the effects of looking at your phone. Try to remember what you could gain by staying in the moment and being present.
Rethink your time. Instead of sitting and swiping through your phone, make plans, go out with your friends or family, go out to eat, or go for a walk. It does require an extra effort to put yourself out there and ask someone for plans or to go do something yourself, but the experience you’ll gain from the company of people and your surroundings will outweigh any type of company you get from your phone. A suggestion: when you go out to dinner with your friends or family, stack all of your cell phones in the middle of the table and talk. Ask one another about their day, laugh, make small talk, and be in the moment.
Moments in life are here and gone in an instant. One second you are in class learning about Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and the next you are walking to receive your diploma at graduation. Time is something nobody will ever be able to grasp, and it is important if you can't hold onto time, at least you have the opportunity to hold onto a moment. So experience it, resist the temptation, and put down your phone.