Have you ever thought about your relationship with your mobile phone? Every time it rings, a beep of a text, a ding of another email, how do you react to your mobile phone? Detoxing is usually associated with food, alcohol and even caffeine but what about detoxing from your mobile phone? Mobile phones are no longer just something used to talk to friends or family. For many people they are also used to take and share photographs, to instant message a group of people, to access emails, to listen to music and to read the newspaper to just name a few.
With each vibration or a buzz of the phone the brain jumps into action wondering the possibilities – who could it be? Is it important? What is happening?Each time you hit the button to check an email or to answer a text you slowly train yourself to keep on reacting to your mobile device and along with this a fear can develop, the fear of missing out on something. Each time you look at your mobile phone you are probably wondering what are the possibilities and with this excitement a shot of the hormone dopamine is released. Over time you become conditioned to react to the device so that you can get another shot of the feel good factor that is associated with dopamine. Before you know it you develop an automatic reaction that you no longer have control over, often checking the device even when there is no beep or ring. The need to know has somebody been in contact begins to become almost obsessive in nature.
But what happens when nobody has sent a text or an instant message? When nobody is in contact there can be an anti climax, a feeling of disappointment. Again thoughts can wander into an analysing process creating reasons why somebody has not been in contact. These analysing thoughts can distract you from what is actually happening and take you away from the present moment. When this happens, you are more than likely to make mistakes or miss the good things and moments that are occurring. Therefore, not being on autopilot and being more in control of where your attention is can add to the experience you are having right now. Taking mini breaks from your phone and technology in general can assist you in living more in the moment, noticing what is around you and enhance your ability to connect with the people that are in your company.
The more you are in control of your relationship with you mobile phone the more you will feel connected with yourself and the world around you. So what can you do to break this relationship with your mobile phone? Unfortunately the brain needs to be hot wired, but the good news is that with time and practice, you can you rewire the brain to respond to your phone in a different way.
Some people try uninstalling apps that they use repetitively and this may give you some relief for a short period of time however this is only a short term solution as the desire to check the phone can still continue. It is better to take official breaks by turning off your mobile phone for periods of time. Replace the time you would normally use to flick through things on your phone with other non technology based interests. Try leaving your phone at home when you go out for a walk, or coffee with a friend or when you go to the shops. Initially you may experience restlessness and irriatiblity, just take a breath, it will pass. Once your brain gets used to these mini breaks your relationship with your phone will begin to change and your desire to constantly check it will reduce giving you more time and headspace to experience other things.