The Virtues of Unplugging
Get real question: How much time per day do you spend on your smartphone?
Surveys and studies have been published on this in the past several years, and most find reaching for your phone is something at least half of all Americans do before they even get out of bed in the morning.
Can you even imagine such a thing?
Chances are, though, that you could be "that guy." It's become all too easy, checking your social media feeds before your eyes get too sleepy to scroll anymore before bed, checking when you wake up, eating breakfast, drinking coffee, and all throughout the day.
I have to admit, I'm "that girl." Granted, social media is my job, but there has to be a time when I draw the line, right? I get caught up in the mindlessness of it. A couple years ago, when reality shows were all you could even find on tv anymore, I found myself so intrigued and caught up in it. But one day I thought about it. Did I remember what even happened last season, who even was on the show? No.
Why then was I so caught up in other people's lives instead of living my own? It was a revelation to me.
And now, here I am again, finding myself caught up in the lives of that one girl I barely knew in high school's Facebook feed. Mindlessly thumbing through the best of people's lives, (because hopefully by now people have learned to keep the drama off social media right?)
I love an emoji more than the next guy, so please imagine me inserting a clap talk here:
Let's stop living through other people, disconnect, and begin to live our own lives shall we?!
Start the Day with Intention
Beginning when you wake up, practice being mindful of your day and yourself. Do at least 3 things before checking your phone. You are the most important person in your life, take care of yourself before checking that phone to see if you missed anything important in the 8 hours you were sleeping.
Turn mindless moments into mindful experiences. How you wake up sets the tone for your day. Be present in the moment and set your intentions for the day.
"Life loves the liver of it." -Maya Angelou
The Benefits of Boredom
How about those moments when you find yourself waiting? Waiting for your ride, waiting for the doctor, waiting for your children in the carpool line. A quick glance around will show you what almost everyone else is doing-- checking their phones.
If you happen to be by yourself, does the boredom of being alone make you feel lonely? Author Sherianna Boyle outlined the benefits of boredom:
1. It gives you an opportunity to heal whatever it is that is showing up within you.
2. You get to discover the raw feelings underneath these emotions.
3. You learn to listen rather than judge or distract yourself from the moment.
4. You develop the ability to see the moment as an opportunity to receive something rather than have something taken away from you (e.g. time).
5. You get a second to shift gears and center your scattered thoughts.
Social media can also enhance loneliness, as we feel surrounded by people while scrolling, and instantly alone as soon as we shut down. Humans need interaction, it's important to unplug and spend time in person when we have the chance.
The blue light emitted by screens on cell phones, computers, tablets and televisions restrain the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm. Reducing melatonin makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. Ideally, you don't sleep with any of these distractions in your bedroom. But this is not practical for everyone, so we recommend turning off your electronics an hour before going to sleep.
I leave you with this quote T.D. Jakes gave in Oprah Winfrey's book "The Path Made Clear," reminding us not to forget to unplug, and to live a life of intention:
We are not using our life, our time, our energy for our highest good, for our best use. Don't miss your life, your purpose, your passion, your excitement. Every moment is a gift. Every thought is a gift. Every idea is a gift. Every opportunity is a gift. Everyone you meet is a gift!
- Karina Labossiere