In today’s digital age, we are constantly bombarded with technology that allows us to document every moment of our lives. We have smartphones with high-quality cameras that can take stunning photos and videos, and we have apps that allow us to share those moments with our friends and family instantly. However, this constant need to document every experience can be detrimental to our mental health and our ability to be present in the moment.
When we are out and about with friends and family, we should be interacting with them and enjoying the dinner, sitting on the bench, the beach, the concert, or whatever happens to be around. Instead, we often find ourselves glued to our phones, trying to capture every moment, every meal, every ‘fake’ smile with a photo or video. This constant multitasking leads to us missing out on the real experiences. We need to realize the fear of missing out (FOMO) is happening right before us as we stare at a screen instead of the “real thing”.
One way to stop this right away is to buy a cheap alarm clock for the bedroom and to get a digital camera – or even a polaroid. Using our smartphones as our primary camera and alarm is problematic. When we rely on our phones for everything, we are constantly bombarded with notifications, social media updates, and other distractions that take us out of the moment. We feel pressure to respond to these notifications and updates, which further distracts us from the task at hand.
We could argue that to combat these issues, it is important to take a step back from our phones and focus on being present in the moment. Instead of constantly taking photos and videos, we should take the time to interact with our friends and family, appreciate the environment around us, and make memories that will last a lifetime. But my argument is to go further – don’t even bring your phone to the engagements. If you want photos of the event, this is why you have brought a camera. Similarly, using a separate alarm can help us establish healthier sleep habits by removing the temptation to scroll through our phones before bed. The evidence is out that the screen, light, and ways that phones are interacting with our brains is definitely not conducive to enabling a deep sleep.
Turn Notifications Off.
On your phone now, go to the notifications center and turn EVERYTHING off. Schedule a time in your day that you check the ‘important’ apps for their information. Create a system whereby others do not expect you to respond to their email, their text, their comments, their post, their like before 24 hours had passed. In creating the system, send out a message to others that this new system is something you are undertaking as a way to create balance and health in your own life. Go further once in a while and take a few days, weeks, months break from social media and news. Realize the people, family, and friends who are around you. Explore nature and books. Enjoy create art and getting dirty in the mud. Do something ‘undigital’.
Remove distractions. Be present in the moment.