Your phone is an intensely addictive device. Americans check their phones 8 billion times a day. According to Deloitte, who ran the study, that averages out to about 46 times per day- up from 33 times in just one year. Most of these looks happen while doing some other activity like working, shopping, hanging out with friends, going out to eat– activities that used to be the best (uninterrupted) aspects of life!
As a digital native, I’m not one to admonish the use of smartphones. My smartphone is a persistent part of my life. It keeps me connected and productive at work. It keeps me entertained during commutes. And since I eat a lot of takeout- it basically feeds me. But this research was a reminder that a lot of my phone usage (and probably yours) is idle and pointless. About 81% of adults in the U.S. have smartphones; they’re used an hour and 39 minutes daily on average to consume media. That’s not even considering those of you that sit in front of a screen all day for work.
Bluntly put- that’s 17 days a year where you’re not being present with your friends, coworkers and surroundings. Let’s say you reduced your habit by about 25% and you only checked your phone a mere 35 times a day- a change so subtle you might not even notice it. Instead, use those impulses as a trigger to take a deep breath, notice what’s around you and be present for just a few seconds. Pretty quickly you’ll get some big results:
- Focus and concentration will increase
- Your blood pressure and cardiac output will decrease
- Increase in pleasurable experiences, like listening to music
- Improve your ability to regulate and control emotions
- Make better decisions in the moment
- Best of all - replacing checking your phone with taking a deep breath will reinforce the habit of focus on that deep healing breath. Positive habits, ya’ll!
It’s pretty common sense stuff. A little less Facebook and Twitter surfing turns into a little more living. Like, actually living. So give it a shot, and start easy. Try to catch yourself once a day– rather than checking your phone again, take a deep breath. Just once a day for a few days, that habit will form, you’ll start breathing more, being present more and just a little bit healthier and happier.