Phones have become an intricate part of our lives. Now that we can access seemingly everything we want to with just a couple taps and swipes, it can almost feel impossible to not want to scroll on social media apps, text, call, take photos, browse google or do anything else virtually we want when we want to. This, however, can be emotionally draining and exhausting, as well as impact our mental health in a variety of ways. For one, constant messaging and emailing through our phones throughout the day can cause more stress in our lives, making it seem that we are not the ones in control. In other words, with notifications popping up, it can feel like we are living in a continuous to-do list that keeps adding things to our agenda. Furthermore, it can taint our sense of gratification. Our phones are an electronic dopamine loop, meaning we can scroll online to gain instant gratification and fulfillment. With this constantly occurring, we can become too engulfed in our phones to realize the happiness that surrounds all of us in our lives. Now, I am not saying phones are always bad. Sometimes we do receive important text messages or phone calls that we need to respond to immediately, however, because constant usage of our phones does have implications on lowering our mental wellness, try this little mindfulness experiment to see how much your phone may be impacting your mood:
First, pick a day to monitor your phone usage. Carry on throughout the day like any normal day, and use your phone the same amount. What I will ask you to do though is to be mindful about how scrolling, answering texts, answering phone calls, going online, etc. makes you feel before and after you do so. Jot down some notes about what emotions you have and have what you are engaging with on your phone, as well as how your overall mood is throughout the day. Now, pick a day to set your phone down. Try going throughout your day without checking your phone. If you feel you need to, ask yourself why you need to, what will that benefit, and what would happen if you did not. Jot down notes on how you feel without your phone. Do you feel like you are missing something or uncomfortable? Do you feel more in the moment and present? How have you been feeling throughout the day? Next, compare the notes over the course of the two days and reflect on the way your phone usage is interacting with your mental wellness and behaviors. You may just find something out about yourself and your phone usage that you may want to change!