Eyes open. Arm extends. Phone clutched. Alarm off. Messages opened. Heart-rate rising. Eyes scanning. Brain rushing. Messages sent. Rush to shower.
Does this morning pattern sound familiar to you or someone you know?
This technology-infused world has enabled us to be connected in ways that bridge distance and time. It has however possibly disconnected us from the one connection that is of uttermost importance; connection with ourselves.
The Mental Health Inquiry report released December 2018, pointed to social media, social isolation, consumerism, competitive values, and unreasonable expectations for constant happiness as some of the causes of “a rising” tide of mental distress and addiction”.
Our phones have become extensions of ourselves, connecting us to others and the world around us. But how much of this has turned into addictive behaviour? Are you constantly checking, opening, scanning, ‘liking’ when you could be doing something else such as your work, communicating with others, or just spending time being present to what is happening around or within yourself?
On average New Zealanders will spend 18 hours a week getting their digital fix, up from 15 hours each week in 2015. (Newshub)
Kiwis between the ages of 15- 24 are spending a minimum of six hours a week accessing the web from a phone, according to Nielsen.
In order for us to shift from becoming a bunch of pavlov’s dogs at the beck and call of the latest ‘ping’, to becoming more self-aware, I believe we need to spend some time disconnecting in order to re-connect with ourselves.
So how might we become more present? More mindful? More connected with ourselves?
Awareness: Notice how often you are automatically reaching for a device.
Acknowledge: Notice when you are doing this and acknowledge the underlying emotions or thought processes that underpin this behaviour eg: are you feeling lonely, bored, curious?
Agree: Make an agreement with yourself on one action you will take to becoming more present to yourself, those around you, or your environment.
Action: Place your plan into action and become aware of how you are going.
You might start with something small such as making an agreement with yourself not to check your phone until after your morning wake-up routine, thus giving yourself time to ease into the day.