I wrote a post a few months ago about banning my phone from the bedroom and the positive effects that it had. Last week, I accidentally left my phone at home for a day (shock horror!) and realised the extent to which my life is now ruled by my phone.
Upon reaching the station last week and unzipping my bag only to find the extension to my hand (a.k.a mobile phone) was not there, I was at a loss at what to do. My first reaction was one of worry. ‘What if my partner was trying to contact me for some reason and didn’t receive a reply? Maybe I should text him to let him know I didn’t have my phone…oh wait, I don’t have my phone and can’t text without it’! It was quite terrible that yours truly, Mindfulness Practitioner, had not realised quite how reliant I had become on my phone.
I of course took immediate action. If there’s no phone to text on, play games on or surf the net, then there’s only ever one thing to do – meditate and be mindful. I stood on the platform, appreciating the fresh air that I’m usually too distracted to notice.
The train journey to work became what it used to be – a pocket of time for my eyes and brain to rest. A time to appreciate passing views of green hills and lush trees basking in summertime. A time where nothing was expected of me, not even an inner urge to reply to a message or email.
I arrived into London and observed that half of the platform on the Bakerloo line were on their phones (I was pleasantly surprised it wasn’t more). Slaves to their hand-held device, much like I frequently am.
I got to work and thankfully it distracted me from the absence of my phone.
On the journey back home, my craving for my phone was gone and replaced with relief and a realisation that my phone addiction robs me of my free time. I spend so much time looking and tapping away at a screen. It is sad to think how I likely look more at the screen of my phone in any one day than the faces of my loved ones, by default of it being constantly by my side. It is sad to think that we likely hold our phones more than the hands of our family.
When the day was over, I decided that I should ditch the phone more often. I had taken a very long time to migrate to a smartphone as I disagreed with how much time was lost to using them, and yet still I fell victim to having the power of information and communication at my fingertips.
I would like to spend more time looking at the faces of my loved ones and fellow men and women. I would like to spend more time realising the landscape my train travels through each day. I would like to be more alert to my surroundings. I would like to regain those pockets of time where I had great freedom. How did I not realise I’d traded it all for time on a phone?
Try it just once. Leave your phone at home for a day and see if you feel a bit (or a lot) lost without it. Then observe what other things you could do or experience without it. Some won’t find the trade-off worthwhile, but for others you may find a sense of space and peace.
Read more about my bedtime phone ban here: https://pathofhappinessblog.com/2017/05/26/bye-bye-phone-a-week-long-bedtime-ban/?preview=true