Hope you are finding some joy and beauty in the sunshine and Spring flowers.
How often are you able to be outside, enjoying the beauty of the natural world?
Chances are you spend much more time in the day looking at a screen... Much of that might be unavoidable because of work, or other responsibilities, but we also choose to devote much of our free time to screens. The average Brit spends 4 hours a day looking at their phone! That's 25% of our waking life!
Our thoughts from today's newsletter are from recently watching the film 'The Social Dilemma' - worth a watch if you'd like to re-think your relationship with technology.
How can we bring more mindfulness to screen time? Here are some reflections to explore your own relationship to your phone:
Do you know how much time you spend on your phone?
Many phones have a 'screen time option' to let you track how long you spend on your phone and on what. Are you surprised by how much time you spend?
Are you happy with how and when you use your phone?
Do you find yourself endlessly scrolling or spending more time communicating with people via the phone than in person? Do you find yourself distracted from more meaningful activities by your phone? Letting go of any judgment; just notice if your values and actions are aligned.
Using our attention more choicefully and purposefully IS mindfulness practice - here are some tips for creating some space with your phone.
1. Turn off all (or most) notifications
Pick up the phone when you choose, not when your phone tells you to.
2. Explore other settings to reduce distractions from your phone.
Silent mode or 'Do not disturb' so you don't receive unwanted interruptions.
Setting limits on how long you use certain apps via the screentime function.
You can even turn the colour off your phone to make the screen less compelling.
3. Breathe before picking up
How many times do you pick your phone up each day? For the average person it's about 60 times, that's every 15 minutes! Taking 3 breaths before you pick up your phone can help you connect to your body and see what's driving you. Are you feeling lonely? Bored? Restless? Riding the wave of emotion rather than distracting yourself can give you more sense of freedom and purpose in life.
4. Put your real life first
Make it a practice to put your phone away while doing other things. We all know the pain of trying to connect with someone who is more interested in their phone than you! Try making it a practice to be with the person you are with, the food you are eating, or the film you are enjoying without multitasking. Life can become more deep and meaningful when we show up fully, offer our whole presence to where we are and what we are doing - at first this might feel uncomfortable, but ultimately real life feels so much more... REAL!
5. Practice digital distancing
Create some physical space from your phone:
Not bringing the phone into your bedroom so you can unwind before sleep and wake up before 'logging on' can help us sleep better and wake without stress.
Putting your phone away when you eat so you can be fully present with your meal or the person you are sharing it with.
Leaving your phone at home when you go for a walk or a day out can also help us free ourselves from compulsive phone checking and connect more deeply with where we are and what we are doing.
With billions spent each year by tech companies to keep us scrolling, reclaiming our time and attention can be challenging. Be gentle and hold the intention lightly. Offering our attention to our life and the people in it is a radical act of rebellion. Every minute we are present in our own bodies and lives is an act of awakening.