Is your phone the enemy in finding calm and happiness? A calmer, happier, more empowered you
Do you find yourself checking your phone several times a day? According to studies, we check our smartphones 85 times a day on average, which works out to about 5 hours a day. That’s a long time being disconnected from our inner calm. Any interruption to our working day, for example, equates to 20 minutes of lost productivity, as we try to get our concentration back. This means that we are all probably less focused and less productive during our working day than what we are supposed to be, and we may feel under varying degrees of pressure.
What do you look for when you check your phone? Distraction? Entertainment? Information? Or do you feel the pressure from social media and think you are missing out or need to achieve more?
Social media and all this information are part of our lives now whether we like it or not. Social media and internet connection can be a force for good, or a source of annoyance. We can use social media and information in a purposeful and constructive way, allocating a bit of time a day to learn something new and share something positive, giving it the right space in our lives, and always with a healthy dose of detachment.
Social Pressure vs Inner Calm
Sometimes you may feel you are under pressure, that you have to “keep up with the Joneses”, as you see pictures and videos of friends (or even celebrities) having a great time. Each ping from your phone may bring a mix of excitement and anxiety at the same time. While you may not need to do a full digital detox and abandon technology altogether for a week or a few days, you can change the relationship you have with technology. We all have the power to decide how and when to use our phones and not the other way round. When we stare less at our phone screens we have the opportunity to reflect more on what’s going on or simply connect with people and the world around us. When you feel bored, stressed or lonely you are more likely to want to see if there’s anything interesting happening on social media. However, if you feel calm and relaxed, you may not require external stimulation, because you feel you have everything you need and don’t long for anything. Feeling centred and balanced takes only a few minutes a day, and with practice it becomes easier.
You don’t need to look outside yourself to find happiness – as William Arthur Ward said, “happiness is an inside job”. How can we all find happiness? The first step, and the most useful one, is to take care of our inner world: in other words, we need to slow down and become more mindful.
Traditional news outlets may depict a world that is bad and terrifying, while social media portrays a perfect world with beautiful and successful people who are blessed with health, money and happiness. This game of contrasts can be quite confusing, and it can be a source of stress.
We don’t need to believe everything we see, either positive or negative. We can choose how we want to feel, instead.
Let’s assume that our mind is like a ship in a stormy sea: the ship goes up and down the waves and it’s difficult to follow the route. Mindfulness is learning to navigate the storm and keeping steady, even when the waves crash against the ship, sailing to safety. We can learn to keep ourselves centred and find our balance no matter what the outside pressures are.
Cultivating awareness through relaxation, visualisation or body awareness techniques can help you to feel less influenced by external factors and to journey through your own difficulties more positively.