So it has been a lot harder than I thought. It bothers me that my attachment to my cell phone is so strong. I discovered that I have some cell phone addiction triggers. These triggers are moments when I reach for my phone without even realizing I am doing it. When I catch myself during these particular moments, I must deliberately figure out something else to fill my time, or I just give in. Here are the moments that are difficult for me:
At Stoplights while driving
Standing in line: example, at Target and at Trader Joe’s.
First thing in the morning
On the toilet
Last thing at night
Some of my weak moments are more embarrassing to admit than others. I can categorize these moments into two different groups. The first is when I excuse myself by rationalizing that checking my phone is multitasking and the second is when reaching for the phone feels like it is brainless relaxation. The most helpful technique I have discovered this week is IMAGINING THESE MOMENTS IN LIFE WITHOUT A CELL PHONE. This helps me realize that silence is important, and that being present in the moment is important to our mental health. To illustrate this, let me describe my current phone habit in the morning, versus how it should be.
How it is: I roll over, hit snooze on my iPhone alarm. Eight minutes later, it sounds again. This time I pick up my phone, turn off the alarm and slowly become aware of the notifications highlighted on my phone. With swollen eyes, I start browsing any possible photos that could have been updated on Facebook and Instagram since I checked it last, seven or eight hours ago, depending on when I went to bed. It doesn’t take long to get to the ones I’ve already seen, considering that most of my friends were also asleep last night. If I scroll too fast through those, I might open my email or Chase banking app (Why? I have no clue). About 15 minutes later, I realize that I have to scramble out of bed, put on my clothes and make a breakfast shake to sip in the car, because I don’t have time to sit and drink it. My morning is stale and unfulfilling. I feel rushed and always scrambling.
How it should be: The first 30 minutes of your day should be about “getting out of bed, freshening up, taking five minutes to meditate and stretch, and preparing a healthy breakfast,” according to 5 Ways to Beat Your Phone Addiction.
#Bebetterchallenge One morning this week, I was determined not to look at my phone. What happened was incredibly more fulfilling then my normal morning. I rolled over and turned off the alarm. Walked into the kitchen to heat up a warm cup of herbal tea. Splashed water on my face and threw on some clothes before taking my dog for a 10-minute walk. I enjoyed the moments undistracted by the phone. I felt ready for the day. The walk gave me 10 minutes to be present in the moment, enjoying my neighborhood, enjoying the start of the day.
So the battle continues this week. How will I set my phone aside during my weak moments? I’m going to start by imagining the potential reality of life without a phone in these moments:
- While driving, I can listen to music, listen to NPR, brainstorm ideas about Be Better, reflect, etc.
- While standing in line I can interact with strangers, observe them or simply make eye contact.
- While waking up . . . I can prepare breakfast, drink herbal tea, take my dog on a walk, read the newspaper, listen to the news, shower and eat breakfast.
- While on the toilet . . . well, I can read all the magazines I haven’t gotten to yet.
- While preparing for bed, I can slow down my mind, read, talk to my husband, practice deep breathing or listen to soft music.
Everything listed above sounds so much better then re-checking last night’s Instagram photos. I am excited to try to conquer my cell phone addiction.