I can be just as compulsive about looking at my cell phone as the next person. But a recent trip to a retreat center near Mt. Shasta that had no wifi and no cell service reminded me to re-evaluate my addiction (again).
As I prepare for our baby to arrive (September 20th is the due date, so he/she could really arrive any day now) I’ve been consciously choosing what is allowed into my life and what isn’t in a way I never have before. (For example, I haven’t watched a violent movie since I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t think the baby needed any extra adrenaline.)
I’ve gotten clarity about the idea that I don’t want to be a parent (or person, for that matter) who’s attached to her cell phone all day.
In the US, this week really feels like the last week of summer because it ends with Labor Day. So this is the perfect week to spend some time unplugged before the rush of fall truly begins.
Here are 5 compelling reasons to put down your cell phone:
1. Hunching forward over your cell phone causes anxiety. When you’re hunched forward your lung capacity is decreased and your breathing becomes shallow. This will make you feel anxious. And then you’ll feel compelled to check your cell phone even more because, for many of us, compulsive checking is a habit connected to a desire to soothe ourselves emotionally. Unfortunately, it’s a vicious cycle.
2. Multi-tasking is impossible. We think we can do two things at once, but it’s actually impossible. Instead of doing two things at once our brain actually just switches back and forth from one thing to another. This makes us way less effective at doing either thing. If you’ve paid money to go to a conference, listen to the speakers instead of texting. You think you can listen and text at the same time, but you can’t. You’ll miss most of what is being said and be slower at texting.
3. Cell phones and other electronic devices emit potentially dangerous electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) and radiation. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified mobile phones as possibly carcinogenic to humans. Because they haven’t been around long enough to study the effects of long-term use, we don’t really know what those effects might be. I mitigate possible harm by having a cell phone case that reduces radiation exposure and a pad to shield heat and radiation from my lap when using my laptop. Plus we don’t sleep with our cell phones in the bedroom, and if we must use them as an alarm we keep them on airplane mode.
4. You can’t be present with people in real life and be on your phone at the same time. Try having a conversation with someone who’s texting or scrolling their Instagram feed. Their answers are delayed, short, and sometimes completely unrelated to what you asked. They think they can be on their phone and talk to you at the same time, but they can’t. And neither can you.
Give the people in your life the gift of your presence by putting down your mobile device. (Tweet it!)
Your relationships will thrive as a result.
5. It’s worse to miss something in real life than missing something on the internet. Your Facebook comments and text messages will sit on your phone until you’re ready to look at them. The radiant smile of your child will not. Mike told me a while back that he sometimes felt like he had to compete with my cell phone for my attention. That was really hard to hear. I don’t want to be someone who misses out on quality conversations with my man, beautiful sunsets, and the miraculous moments of everyday life because my eyes and attention are glued to a tiny screen. I know you don’t either. Every time I unplug for a while I don’t miss anything significant. I find I can get caught up in a miniscule amount of time compared to the amount of time I was unplugged. And this proves how much time I was wasting scrolling and being plugged in before. (I guess #5 is pretty similar to #4, but it’s such an important point it felt necessary to say it two different ways.)
It’s a constant dance. I’m not going to be throwing away my cell phone, and I’m not advocating that you do either. But leaving your phone at home when you go to dinner with your family, putting it on airplane mode after 8pm, or planning a day a week where you unplug could all be sustainable, sanity-building practices.
So, whether it’s this upcoming holiday weekend or simply a moment on a regular day:
Put the screen down.
Lift your eyes.
And feast on your real life.
Over to you:
When do you feel most compelled to pick up your cell phone? How do you feel when you do? What have you found works for you around having technology boundaries in your house? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below!
Please forward this to a friend who you know could use some time unplugged and share it on social media. And then put down your cell phone :)
P.S. Have you seen this video on unblocking your money flow at home? It’s just 5 minutes. After implementing what she learned from it, my girlfriend received over $1600 in the mail in unexpected checks the same day. While this result is not guaranteed, it’s not unusual.
The video is free. Grab it here.
It’s part of my course, Feng Shui for Financial Freedom and I’m offering a special, free bonus to anyone who enrolls in the course by 11:30pm EST tonight. The bonus is the last thing I’m doing live until 2016 because I go on maternity leave soon. Check out the video and the course here.