You are at a party, and pretty much everyone is on their phones. Nobody is talking or interacting with each other, not even with the person sitting next to them. From a distance, it would look like a prayer group, everyone with their heads bowed. Wouldn’t this scene be completely different if it weren’t for those phones?
Phones are great. They help us communicate with others, allow us to have information about anything right at our fingertips, and can keep us up-to-date with what our friends and family members are up to. However, I believe their role in our daily lives has become too large. For most of us, it can be difficult to not reach for our phone when we are bored or when we are in an awkward social situation. It has become a default to grab our phones to avoid someone or when we simply don’t know what to do with ourselves. But pulling out your phone when you don’t know what to say or what to do when you are with someone only hurts yourself. It puts up a wall around you, and separates you from the group or person in a negative way. Think about it: you wouldn’t want to go up and talk to somebody if they were hunched over a phone, would you? Probably not. The phone sends out a signal that you don’t want to be approached. And maybe you don’t! In many scenarios that may be the case, but in situations where you would like to talk to others and be approachable, remember to ditch the phone.
Like with anything, practice makes perfect. One way to strengthen your ability to say no to your phone is to go one day without it. Practice this skill maybe once a month, and you will slowly start to see a difference in the way you view your phone. You will soon realize that the things you do on your phone are often not that valuable to your development or your goals.
I went a day without my phone, and I learned these things quite quickly. I found myself having more time to do activities that were intellectually stimulating and were more mentally satisfying. For example, reading, doing homework much faster, and spending quality time with family became easier. When I spent time with people during that day, I felt more connected with them and had more meaningful conversations.
The brain is like a muscle—you must use, train, and stimulate it often if you want to strengthen and grow it. Practicing the skill of not succumbing to your phone will help your brain learn new ways to deal with various situations. When you don’t know what to say at a party and you pull out your phone to look on Pinterest to distract yourself, you are not allowing your mind, or yourself, to learn how to be a problem solver in uncomfortable situations. Don’t get me wrong— Snapchatting your friends and scrolling through Instagram can be fun. But I believe limiting yourself when you are out with others (and by yourself) will benefit you in a million more ways than checking John’s latest Instagram post. Take the challenge, leave your phone at home for the day, and see the world with your head up.