The very phone that you are reading this article on may be the source of your depression or anxiety. For your kids, having a phone may mean they’re experiencing greater isolation and that they’re at higher risk for suicide.
I learned these fun facts from the film The Social Dilemma. In a related post, I talked about my take-aways, as a business therapist, after watching it. But if you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know I’m a humxn of action. So just talking about it wasn’t enough.
If you find you’re using your cell phone a lot, maybe a little (ahem, a lot) more than you should, it may be time for a change.
Ready to reprogram your relationship with your phone and your other digital devices? Here are my top three tips.
- Turn off all of your notifications.
There’s actually a thing now in the psychological world and in the medical world called “phantom vibrations.” It’s when you think you feel your phone vibrating, but it’s really not. The habit of checking your phone, the temptation of something new and possibly exciting, and the anticipated dopamine rush all convince you there’s something happening when it isn’t.
The solution? Stop allowing notifications to run your life and your brain. Instead, turn off the notifications on your phone during the day, and check it at specific, pre-set times only. And, when you’re sleeping, go a step farther, and put your phone in airplane mode.
- Get to know yourself.
After decades of modeling, I was used to other people telling me how I was and who I was based on how I looked, what clothes I fit in, which designer I wore, how a particular photo shoot turned out, etc. Eventually, I started to believe them more than me.
It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I really started to discover myself. That’s when I learned my true value wasn’t in the opinions of others. It was within me the whole time. (That said, I do love hearing your comments on my blogs and videos because when I know what you find valuable, I can deliver more of it.)
Relationships with other people are of course important, and everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But that doesn’t mean their perspective has to be yours. Working on your relationship with yourself is one of the most powerful things you can do in your life.
But constantly being on your phone steals the time and energy that could’ve been devoted to growing and evolving personally.
To get to know yourself better, I encourage you to put the phone down, and pick up the pen instead. Take time to reflect on how you treat yourself, who you believe you are, and what truly drives and motivates you. Then, journal or otherwise document your insights. You’ll be amazed at what you discover about you when you do.
- Open your mind.
Look around you at your circle of connections. Do they all look like you? One of the things social media algorithms tend to do is to put like people with like people. But not only is that boring, it’s incredibly limiting.
If I think about my best friend, I can easily identify what we have in common. As much as we share a few similarities – the things we originally bonded over – the truth is, our lives are worlds apart in many ways. This friend does not look like me. We don’t have the same kind of dog or shop at the same stores. We don’t share the same religion, either.
But our differences are what I love most about this friend. Our relationship has opened my mind. It has opened my heart. It has given me countless opportunities, experiences, lessons that I otherwise would have missed out on.
If you’ve been stuck in your same little sphere of existence for a while, it’s time to broaden your horizons. Make a point to have a conversation with somebody who doesn’t look like you. Someone whose life is different than yours, who sees things through an alternate lens. During that conversation, be open-minded. Be curious. Learn something new. When you do, you’ll make the world a better place.