Dear Cell Phone, We’re Breaking Up

January 12, 2024

It was October 11, 2023 and I logged onto Zoom for my Ayurveda virtual class. On this particular night, our class was graced with the presence of a guest speaker named Aruni. Aruni’s topic of discussion this night was on “creating a space for healing to happen.” The wonderful discussion began with such a simple, yet profound question. She so warmly asked, “Think back to a time in your life when you felt really listened to, what was happening?” I closed my eyes and traveled back to a time when I felt incredibly heard, seen and cared for. I tried to remember all the details and the feelings of the space. There was calmness, ease, softness, non-judgment, presence, engagement, eye contact, patience, trust and there was not a cell phone in sight and no notifications going off every 90 seconds.  

Aruni asked another question, “Remember a time when you didn’t feel heard, what was happening?” The little chat box on zoom flooded with other students in the class sharing their feeling of not being heard. Words popped up such as: hopeless, broken, dismissed, invalidated, alone, and abandoned. I thought back to a time when I didn’t feel heard. The conversation was rushed, I was being interrupted, the tone was unwelcoming, the other person was picking up their phone, checking messages, and receiving notifications every couple of minutes.

It’s no surprise to me that on the days when I start my morning with silence and journaling, my mind feels less chaotic. It’s no surprise to me that on work days when I don’t check my phone between clients, I am more present and centered. It’s no surprise that when I walk outside not staring at my phone, I often have a wonderful micro-connection with another human. It’s no surprise that when I join a friend for coffee or a meal and keep my phone on silent in my purse or in the car, I’m less distracted and feel more connected.

In Ayurveda there are three qualities of the mind and one is sattvic, which we should always be striving for. Sattva translates to: harmony, balance, peace, grace, truth, and clarity. You ARE sāttvika by nature. Two of my favorite sattva-supporting practices are: limit exposure to electronics and establish times of silence. Here are a few simple ways to decrease the activity on your phone and possibly increase your time in silence.

  1. Turn notifications off for some apps that you don’t care about: Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat, Google, Dating Apps, Weather, ESPN, Messenger, etc. Find this in Settings-Notifications.
  2. Move your social media apps to your last screen.
  3. Set a timer on social media apps/games. Find this in Settings-Screen Time.
  4. Unsubscribe from mailing lists, especially if you get a notification every time a new e-mail hits your inbox.
  5. Explore your phone being on silent and Do Not Disturb (love this one).
  6. If you’re an Apple person-find a way to limit the notifications between your MacBook, iPhone and iPad.
  7. If you want to be readily available for someone, designate them a special text tone and ringtone so you know they are trying to reach you. Find their Contact Info, Edit, Change ringtone and text tone different from default.
  8. Turn your phone off every now and then and give it a rest.
  9. Experiment with leaving your phone in the car, pocket or purse when you are out socializing or running an errand.
  10. Limit screen time before bed and keep the phone out of the bedroom if you are able to.
  11. Keep the phone in a designated room in the house and avoid carrying it from room to room.
  12. Wear a wrist watch to check the time.
  13. Check out Bagby silent clock and/or Hatch Restore for peaceful alarm clocks in the bedroom.

 

This list might sound overwhelming. Maybe pick just a couple of these and experiment with them for a week. See if you notice any shifts or changes in your mood, energy level, attitude, sleep and interactions. Be present and let life come to you! May 2024 be the year for healthy boundaries with electronics. For additional information, check out Set Boundaries, Find Peace by Nedra Tawwab who has a chapter dedicated to boundaries with technology. Listen to one of my all time favorite podcast episodes, The Power of Fun with Catherine Price. She also has a book titled, How to Break Up with Your Phone.

Meagan Visnaskas, LMT is a licensed massage therapist at the NH Health & Wellness Center. She is currently enrolled at the Kripalu School of Ayurveda working towards becoming an Ayurveda Health Counselor in summer 2024. To schedule a session or for more information, call 603-801-2777 or email meagan@nhhealthwellness.com.

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