With a surge in the usage of smartphones, there are very few of us who are not guilty of excessive phone usage and occasional phubbing. For those who are not familiar with the term, phubbing involves snubbing someone by ignoring them and focusing on a phone instead.
We should understand that as we turn into a generation that spends more time on our smartphones and gadgets, we are sacrificing relationships with the people that actually matter. And one way to improve the situation would be by learning how to handle smartphones more mindfully.
Handling Smartphones Mindfully
While phubbing might sound silly, various studies have shown that it can impact the emotions of the person being phubbed and strain your relationship with them. Any type of relationship, be it an intimate one with your spouse or a special bond with your best friend, can be impacted by your constant usage of a smartphone or gadget.
This happens because the minute someone realizes that they do not have your full attention, especially because of a gadget, they tend to feel neglected and unimportant.
Some studies on cellphone usage show that simply having a phone out on the dining table, for instance, can cause a disruption by reducing the quality of the conversation and the closeness you share with others at the table. These studies also show that the conversations we have, without the involvement of smartphones and gadgets, can be more meaningful and that the more time we spend away from the phones, the more empathetic we become to our loved ones.
Other studies also show that the average user checks his or her device more than 200 times per day, which means that we are probably looking at our phone every five minutes. Just imagine how much more productive we could be without these interruptions. It is also disturbing to learn that nearly 12 percent of the American population may be addicted to their devices and almost 90 percent might be guilty of overusing their smart gadgets.
Experts recommend practicing mindfulness when using smart gadgets, which means learning how and when to use them without disregarding the people around you.
Here are some mindfulness tips you can try:
- Understand what triggers the need to look at the phone — boredom, stress or loneliness. Once you identify the trigger, find a solution to get over the emotion without turning to your phone for solace.
- Observe how your body responds to phone usage — are you happy, stressed, relieved or anxious? Note your observations and decide for yourself if it is worth fiddling with the phone every few minutes.
- Monitor your phone usage with the help of your phone — use apps that monitor your usage to learn how much or how less addicted you are to it. This will help you consciously reduce the number of times a day you turn to your phone, sometimes with no particular intent.
- Check on your posture — constant usage of phones, tablets and computers can cause problems like text neck, text claw, a hunch and other problems. The next time you pick up your phone, you’ll automatically remember to sit up straighter to help your posture.
As we zoom through our gadget-oriented lives, remember that social media interactions cannot replace the real-life relationships we share with our life partner, children and friends. So, take a moment to look away from your phone and turn your gaze to your family and friends for that special feeling which can’t be found on the glowing screen of a smartphone.
What is Your Phone Doing to Your Relationships? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_is_your_phone_doing_to_your_relationships#thank-influence
(n.d.). Retrieved from http://leftbrainbuddha.com/5-ways-mindful-using-phone/
Addicted to Your Phone? Try this Practice-Phone in Hand. (2018, June 13). Retrieved from https://www.mindful.org/addicted-to-your-phone-try-this-practice-phone-in-hand/