There are many things that distract us from being mindful and in the present moment. I am convinced, however, that one of the chief culprits in this regard are cell phones. After all, smart phones are not just devices we use to communicate with friends and family. They are minicomputers that give us constant input about many things…our exercise routine, calendar events, social interactions, romance, games, sports (both real and fantasy), shopping, movies, and on and on.
This continuous feed of information is absolutely distracting. There has been much media coverage about the dangers of cell phone use while driving. But, in my experience, even walking down the sidewalk can pose the threat of running into someone who is totally engrossed in something on their cell phone.
Even during study times and in class we are distracted by our phones. Studies have documented the time it takes to reengage in what we are reading after being distracted by a text or Instagram message. No less than 45 seconds are generally required for us to remember what we were doing/reading/studying after a phone distraction and to reengage in that activity in a meaningful way.
Simply put, we are distracted from our daily activities numerous times every hour by our cell phones. And that is just one source of distraction in a world full of them.
So, in order to try to disconnect from our dependency on cell phones and the distractions they impose on us, I would like to advocate trying an experiment. Go one day…one twenty-four-hour period…without your cell phone. Don’t just mute it, or turn it off, I mean leave it at home. So that you won’t be tempted.
Now, at this point you are probably thinking…OMG! You have got to be joking! I can’t do that! Well why not try anyway. Maybe you can do it. Or maybe you will fail at the attempt but learn more about yourself and what your cell phone dependency means. Reflect on all of this and journal about why you were successful in the effort, or why you failed after 4 hours.
Try focusing on something, or someone, else during your cell phone free hours. See what kind of difference that makes in your attention to the here and now. Then create meaning through those connections.
The challenge for this week is CELL PHONE FREE FOR ONE DAY!