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.
Choosing to Be a Calmer Version of Yourself
Choosing to be a calmer, happier and more empowered version of yourself is easier than you think. Start with a daily practice to help you feel centred, working on your breathing and visualising something positive. Let’s make a simple example: find a quiet place, focus on your breathing and invite your body to relax. Close your eyes and simply come up with an image of yourself being calmer and more centred. Now focus on how you would look like, how it would feel like, where you would be ideally; just use your imagination for a moment. Tune into your sensations as you do this exercise and now check: how is your breath reacting? How does your body feel? Remember there is nothing that you need to achieve to succeed in the exercise: taking a pause and simply going through the simple steps of this exercise is all that counts initially. Over time and through practising more Sophrology, everything we imagine, feel or experience becomes deeper. We learn to notice the images, embedding them into our body so the desired state can become a reality in our consciousness. If you want to spend more spare time dining out, for instance, you can imagine what dish you are savouring, tasting each flavour and enjoying the experience in your mind’s eye. You can build up this imagery further with each session, picturing your lifestyle how you would like it to be: you can think of a relaxing walk by a beach, with the wind caressing your face. You can see yourself walking in a forest, lush and green, inhaling the aromatic smells of the vegetation. With practice you can step into this dimension easily and you will find a sense of calm within a few minutes, which then will stay with you for a long time and support your transformation.
One of the famous quote of Alfonso Caycedo, the Founder of Sophrology says: “All positive actions on one part of consciousness will reverberate on the totality of our Being”.
You, Version 2.0
Sometimes we can all do with an upgrade. What does being you feel like right now? How would you like to feel?
If you were to access a sense of calm any time you need it, would you take the opportunity to do so?
You can choose to simply be you by taking time for yourself and becoming more aware of who you are. You can give yourself permission to be vulnerable and ask for help when necessary.
Embracing difficulties is one of the best ways to find solutions and allows your energy take you to your next level!
What are you choosing to do next?