Cell phones and social media have taken the place of true and meaningful connection between people. This has had and will continue to have deleterious effects on all individuals and relationships. When we disconnect from others, we feel disconnected to ourselves and all things around us. The quick and constant access that cell phones and social media provide do not constitute meaningful connections. They are designed to give you the illusion of that, but in essence people and relationships are suffering because of it. It is time to power down and reconnect to yourself and all things around you. Here are a few simple tips to get you started. It can be hard to go cold turkey, so take it slow and pay attention to how you feel.
1-Pick a day of the week where you decide to go dark. Turn off your cell phone and restrict all access to any type of social media. You will be amazed at just how freeing this could be. I like to suggest doing this on a Sunday…a time for quiet and family time. The first time might be hard, but soon you will see that you can do it more and more.
2-Take a walk with your loved one without a cell phone. When was the last time you and your loved one held hands and just strolled without any interruption? You can choose to walk in silence and just hold hands or you can talk and reconnect with one another. Or do a bit of both. Either way, this will do a world of good for you and your loved one.
3-Do not check your phone first thing upon waking or last thing before going to bed. Most people will say that when they check their various social media profiles, they feel less good than before they checked? Why? Because pictures of other people having the “best time ever” can cause one to feel alone and sad. This is not the way anyone should wake up or go to sleep.
4-Take photos for the sheer enjoyment of taking them and capturing memories, but not for the sole purpose of posting them for all of your 1,000 plus “friends” to see.
5-Change your mindset around your social media friends being your true friends. Some might be, but rarely do most adults have hundreds or even thousands of true and deep friends. Could you really call on all those people if you truly needed a friend? Unlikely, so keep things in perspective when sharing with these “friends.”
6-Do something totally for yourself having nothing to do with social media, selfies or other activities that don’t promote positive feelings. Take a bike ride, hike Mt. Everest, lie on a beach, write a novel, or walk with your children without looking at your phone…anything that allows you to connect to all REAL things around you.
7-Decide to cut your social media profiles to just one site. Who really has time to cross pollinate all these sites with the same photos or quotes from others?!
8-Find a new hobby. You will be amazed at how many incredible things exist out there in the world.
9-Leave the phone when out for dinner or having dinner with the family. You will survive and most likely even thrive as conversation once again will be the most important thing. The level of connection that will redevelop will feel so wonderful that you will crave more and more of it. It has been shown that parents are less tolerant and patient with their kids when they are constantly looking at their phones. Give your children the time they deserve. You can see the lesson that is being taught if your face is always buried on your screen.
10-Stop it with the selfies. We have all read the latest diagnosis to go along with selfies…narcissism. So, let’s extend our care out toward others and away from our outstretched arms taking a photo.
Powering down will help you to feel better about yourselves, your relationships and the world around you. Try it, you just might like it.