This will be a topic near and dear to my heart that I will address more than once, and I hope it resonates with some of you too. The Zenful Urbanite movement was essentially born out of my distaste for cell phone addiction and how I felt it was harming society. It’s not a secret that we feel lost without our phones and we check them far more often that we should.
I began to feel angry and bitter, and far more cynical that I would like to be. I believe a little cynicism is healthy in moderate doses, but I was growing judgey and bitter along with it… and I did not plan to be bitter by 30.
So as I was lying in bed one night, pondering my growing disdain for cell phones, I began to also ponder my draw and devotion to balance. A fan and advocate of balance in all things, I knew this was an area I could achieve balance as well.
To begin moving towards a sense of balance in my own cell phone realm, I began to consider all the amazing things that cell phones have done! I am talking incredible, life changing things!
Facetime enables distant loved ones to connect faster and more intimately than ever, allowing people to travel while also maintaining important connections. There are apps designed to help people with anxiety cope with their daily lives, enabling them to function in a happier and healthier state. Emergencies are addressed faster than ever and no one has to find a phone to call for help, because everyone has one!
So phones are great – absolutely yes! But again, it comes down to balance, fam. Phones, while they can connect people, are also harming connections as people tend to become distracted when they are with one another, because their phones rings, or buzzes, or chimes… whatever it does. Whether or not you pull your phone out of your pocket at that moment, even a fraction of your brain has gone somewhere wondering what it could be. You’re listening at half mass now.
Here I have listed 3 reasons to/benefits of doing a digital detox.
INCREASED ATTENTION SPAN
I’d be willing to bet that attention spans are shorter than they have ever been in history! With an assortment of entertainment and information – be it Instagram or music or news or twitter – right at our fingertips, at all times of the day, our brain craves constant stimulation! We become antsy and “bored” within minutes, when we are not engaged in some sort of “activity”. I myself have been sitting at a table with friends and as soon as that conversation dies down, we’re all checking our phones.
I personally have noticed that it can be difficult for me to take 10 deep breaths or sit still for 1 minute. Both of this, excellent practices for enhancing calm and achieving Zen.
If we challenge ourselves to step away from the phone, put it on silent, or, heaven forbid, turn it off… we will become more skilled at silent meditation, enjoying silence, and appreciate still moments. Through this, we will find more calm and in turn, peace.
IMPROVE RELATIONSHIPS AND CONNECTIONS
Without the phone to distract us, we might spend more time with people. And not just any kind of time… quality time! We will spend more time actively listening to our friends and giving them genuine support and feedback, enhancing the authenticity of our relationships.
Since texting has become the most popular and widely accepted form of communication, we have also become somewhat “socially awkward”. Now don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite people are genuinely awkward and I would still be awkward if phones had never entered the picture, but the truth is people have a hard time now having face to face conversations with their own friends, let alone with strangers! When was the last time you struck up a conversation with a total rando and become friends? (look, I have never done this but I hear it happens!)
CREATIVE AND AUTHENTIC THOUGHT
Truly unique and one of a kind thoughts are so hard to come by. Part of that is absolutely the fact that the world has been around now for well… a pretty good chunk of time. So obviously all the good thoughts and ideas are gone. But I do believe that if we did not have our phones on us constantly, and more so the internet in our pocket more hours of the day than not, there would be more creative thought in the world.
That being said, I will also say I totally seek inspiration from Pinterest, obviously (Pinspiration) and Instagram constantly. I support seeking inspiration! But just imagine, where your mind might take you, if you didn’t have your phone for even one day. There could be genius ideas just waiting for a moment to meet with you. Waiting in the dark, while your mind is jam packed with things and stuff and whatnot you find on the internet.
Leave some room for your own unique and authentic thoughts!
All of that being said, I do hope you challenge yourself to a digital detox someday. Just try it and see how you feel. Pay attention and note any feelings, good or bad. If it is uncomfortable, all the more reason to continue. You should be okay with being still and quiet. Only in these still and quiet moments can we find our peace.
I would love to hear about your experiences & I am always here to support you on your journey!