Tech Less, Talk More

Image source: Contributed

Jackie Hillegers explores the signs of phone addiction and the benefits for disconnecting to connect in a more meaningful way.

NOMOPHOBIA (NO MObile PHone phoBIA) – a condition or irrational fear of being detached from your cellphone.

Tech is a big part of our work and personal lives – sometimes we text more than we talk! Who would have thought 20 years ago that we would be ordering clothes, making friends (some we have never met in person) and buying our weekly groceries, all through our smartphones!

Excessive tech use can lead to bouts of anxiety and depression, and can cause isolation, constant headaches, eye strain and create structural changes in your brain. Every ping, alert or notification creates a sense of anxiety – who is texting me, ringing me or what am I missing out on? Switching your phone to ‘silent’ can help reduce overwhelm as you then become busy with ‘other’ activities and can go for longer periods without checking your device.

Not activating your ‘screen time’ to see your weekly usage report can be a common occurrence when you are aware you spend too much time on your phone. Excessive phone usage is a behavioral addiction and when your phone is not within range you may feel anxious, not know what to do with yourself, or forget how to act and talk around others.

When it comes to overuse, we don’t need to ban our phones altogether. We just need to reconnect more with ourselves and others, and become more productive with our time.

What is it you would like to accomplish in your life? By making a list or creating a vision board you can accomplish more outdoor adventures and achievements each year.

Try to photograph just a few highlights of your day and then place your phone away in a safe space; this is a great way of coming off autopilot and experiencing the present moment more fully. You don’t have to share every achievement on Facebook – having special moments to yourself can be uplifting too.

We are all given one amazing life, so step out of your comfort zone, increase your physical and mental health, and watch less of other people’s highlight reels.

HOW MANY ARE YOU GUILTY OF?

  • Scrolling on your phone when in the presence of visitors.
  • Carrying your phone from room to room, including the bathroom.
  • Losing your phone and not being able to function until it is found.
  • Becoming addicted to viewing what other people are up to.
  • Texting happy birthday or congratulations, instead of calling or saying it in-person.
  • Taking excessive photos on your phone that you never look back on.
  • Taking lots of selfies and only finding one you like (which you then add a filter to).

And we can all relate to this one…

  • Eating one-handed!

How many times have you seen someone eating with one hand and scrolling with the other?

Place your phone out of reach and make a point to connect mindfully with the food on your plate. This is also a respectful thing to do when someone has taken the time to cook for you. How does the food look, how many different aromas can you smell, and how does each mouthful taste?

Connecting with loved ones around the dining table is a great way to bond and share highlights of your day, and you can never get that precious time with your kids back as they grow up so fast.

If you want to hear the truth, ask a child how they feel about your phone usage! They won’t beat around the bush and will give you a blunt, honest answer.

We all have a choice when it comes to how we spend our time. So try not to be a prisoner to your phone – perhaps that’s why they’re called ‘cell’ phones!

PHONE-FREE ACTIVITIES

Gardening

Walking

Coffee with friends

Art and crafts

Volunteering in the community

Swimming or sports

Spending time with family

Reading

Board games

Day spa pampering

Pilates class

Cooking

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