Calling all mobile phone addicts!
Confession - I am addicted to my iPhone!
I wake up to it every morning as my alarm clock and promptly check emails, Instagram and Facebook, and I haven't even got out of bed! But I have noticed that this technology addiction seems to be creeping into a lot of people's lives. It isn't just me who reaches for the phone when they are on the bus to work, waiting for a coffee or (and possibly worst of all) at lunch with a friend.
We seem to be more concerned with telling the digital world just how much fun we are having rather than being present in the moment.
Our technology addiction comes at a costly price as we have lower attention spans, are more distracted, less engaged and are finding it more difficult to disconnect from the office job after hours. By being so immersed in our mobile phones we are losing the ability to be empathetic and vulnerable with those around us (Konrath 2010). Even the mere visual presence of a mobile phone is enough to prevent people from engaging in meaningful conversation for fear of being interrupted or distracted.
With our inability to enjoy the present and have more meaningful connections with those around us, how can we start to change our behaviour?
Connect with your values and motivators - By writing down what matters to you the most and why you want to break the habit you will be better able to fight the technological urge when times are tough. For example, being present and connected to those around me is more important than checking how many 'likes' I have on Instagram.
Practice mindfulness - By practicing mindfulness you can increase your self awareness. This will improve your ability to think before you act, take a step back and make a better choice.
Remove the temptation - Sometimes out of sight out and out of mind is the best option. Sometimes removing your technological distraction from the dinner table or your reach is the most effective way break the habit! Time for me to buy an old school alarm clock.
Seek support from friends and family - Have open communication about your desire to keep a dinner or conversation mobile phone free. You will find that you aren't alone in trying to beat this addiction and having the support of those around you will make breaking the habit a whole lot easier.
- Break your addiction with...an app - Yes, I get that this one is loaded with irony but there are a number of apps that will measure your mobile phone usage, when you are on the phone the most, limit your family's technology usage and will also give you a warning for when you go over your usage limit. Check out an app called Moment
By following a few of these simple tips you can start to disconnect from technology and reconnect with life around you.