To the Editor:
Sometimes I feel like my phone is turning my brain into puddles of mush. As soon as I open my eyes and pick it up: you should buy this, you should look like this, you should wear this, your skin could look like this … this person has all of this, this person has nothing and needs your help. Your house should look like this, your yard should be picture perfect like this. Articles and quizzes that sometimes make you question everything about your life. Are you raising your kids right? Should you quit your job? Is your marriage truly happy?
These phones are addictive, social media is addictive. We want to see, want to compare. We want to know if we’re doing “OK” as compared to our peers and even people we don’t know. We want to buy these things they advertise, we want to better ourselves and even reach out to help others. We want to see where we fit in with the rest of the world.
Are we happy living this way with phones in hands 24/7? I have this sneaking suspicion that those very few people out there who don’t have social media are in fact the happiest and the most fulfilled. Sometimes I think back to the 80s and 90s when there was no social media and wonder what people did! How did they kill time? What were their coffee breaks and lunch breaks like? What did they do while they sat in the waiting room of the dentist office? I can guarantee you it wasn’t mindlessly scrolling through social media and falling down rabbit holes of comparing, criticizing and wanting more more more!
Am I guilty of all this? Most definitely! But thanks to a mind-blowing book that I recently picked up – Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty – I am slowly changing my ways. Shetty suggests, (along with many other professionals), that we not pick up our phones a minimum of fifteen minutes after waking up. I am trying this and so far, so good. Another way to try and stay off of social media a bit more is to limit the time on it. Each time I open Instagram or Facebook, one minute, that’s it.
Summer goes by so fast, don’t forget to put your phones down and just take it all in: your surroundings, the smells, the heat from the sun, the coolness in the early morning, the rain, your family (even when they’re being annoying).