Sending Out an SOS: Information/Connection Overload

Recently, my phone is driving me batty. It’s been building for awhile now and is only getting worse/more embarrassing with time. I think I’ve officially reached a point where an intervention (+ some action) is needed. Stat. I realize that it’s not my iPhone per se that’s gradually pushing me closer to the looney bin, but rather my dependence upon/addiction to it. (For the record, this was always my biggest fear as I held out on getting a smartphone far longer than the average Joe).

On certain days, my phone now has the tendency to make me feel anxious and sometimes completely, unjustifiably unhappy. This sounds so silly, I know. I also know that this is hardly a novel complaint–so many of us are suffering from social media overload and the overwhelm that comes along with being forever connected. I love that my phone allows me to feel closer to friends and family who are so far away. But I hate that it sometimes feels as though I’m light-years removed from the present…from the here and now. I fear it’s making me miss out on life.

So, how to remedy this situation? What changes can I realistically make (and more importantly keep) to break these pesky habits?

Yesterday, I conducted a little experiment in which I made myself keep my phone turned off throughout the duration of my 15-minute walk home from yoga. These are a few of the things I saw, sites that I realized I would’ve missed entirely, had I had my eyes turned downward and my head buried in my teeny-tiny scrolling screen:

~a kid’s charmingly scribbly, handmade Valentine’s sign hanging in the Italian cafe’s window

~a minuscule hummingbird buzzing about in the bushes

~a school playground (that I had never even noticed, despite walking this street on a near-daily basis) that was filled with entertaining kiddos like a wiggly, dancing ham of a kid in a Where’s Waldo tee and a youngster with the biggest fro I’ve seen in ages

~a landscaping van that read “Garden of Weedin'”

**This makes me think: what else have I been oblivious to in my path? What other opportunities might I be letting pass me by?

It’s time for action.

If you have any tips for me on how to effectively disconnect from time to time, I’d love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, I’m thinking that these words of wisdom from the  zen habits blog (see below) are a great place to start. Have a wonderful weekend, friends. Here’s hoping we can all tune in to the magic right in front of our eyes.

“Single-task. I’ve written numerous times in the past about single-tasking vs. multitasking, but I think people multitask now more than ever. People text while on the train, while walking, while driving. They tweet and post to Facebook and Instagram, they email and read blogs and news, they watch videos while getting things done, they watch TV while eating, they plan their day while doing chores. This is a great way to cause a level of anxiety that runs through everything you do, because you’re always worried you should be doing more, doing something else. What if, instead, you just did one thing, and learned to trust that you shouldn’t be doing anything else? It takes practice: just eat. Just wash your bowl. Just walk. Just talk to someone. Just read one article or book, without switching. Just write. Just do your email, one at a time, until your inbox is empty. You’ll learn that there is peace in just doing one thing, and letting go of everything else.”

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{Spotted on today’s walk, taped to a drain pipe, in honor of yesterday’s holiday}

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