Toward the end of the week, I really begin to resent my smartphone. “How could I possibly have any hard feelings towards such a wonderful piece of technology?” you ask. Well, frankly, because it stresses me out!
No matter how much I try to prioritize, every beep notifying me of a text, the endless ringing, and constant alarms reminding me of appointments make me feel as though I am chained to my phone. I’ll go ahead and say it my phone has control over me. This is sad, I know. But, I have a feeling many of you feel the same way. The stress and anxiety that such a little device can exude is often overwhelming.
This isn’t a “woe is me” kind of blog. I’m not saying I’m so popular that everyone wants to talk to me. But like most of you, I use my phone for work. I text, email, make phone calls and use the Internet for research. As much as I love the ease and convenience of having the world at my fingertips, I hate the sense of urgency that comes along with it. The guilt I feel if I don’t answer or text back right away begins to get to me by the end of the week. Sometimes, when I forget my phone, I feel this horrible sense of panic, like I’m disconnected from the world. To me, that’s a sign that I need some time away from my phone.
So what does this have to do with health and wellness? Everything. We are a society that is chained to our communication devices. It’s not just smartphones. Lap tops and iPads have the same effect. They suck us in! They often make us forget about the real world.
How many times have you been at dinner with your spouse, or a friend, and at least one of you is paying more attention to your phone than the person sitting across from you? I’m not proud to admit it, but I do it a lot. I have to make a conscious effort to leave it be and enjoy the moment.
My point is that it’s important to remember that we have real people and real things to enjoy, human beings that we can interact with in person (GASP!), and in general, a world that we have come to ignore due to these powerhouses of communication and technology.
So I challenge you to walk away from your phone this weekend. Shut it off and ignore it, if only for a few minutes. After dealing with the panic and anxiety of not having it on, enjoy the sense of relief and relaxation that comes with letting go (of your phone). Once the sense of urgency and guilt that you aren't responding to text and emails wears off, the stress and tension may just melt away. You’d be surprised how good it can be for your mind, body and soul.