Your Phone Is A Transportation Device To A World Of Anxiety
Over the past month, some events have occurred that made me realize my phone will, in fact (insert shocked face), not provide me with happiness. I will not share the specifics of the events, but will try and make them as universal as possible.
Event 1) I expected something from someone and got something else
This is the human condition. It’s the mode to which most suffering takes place. I remember the words of Tony Robbins in I Am Not Your Guru — a profound documentary showcasing this giant live in action at his flagship seminar, Date With Destiny — so clearly: “when you trade your expectations for appreciation [insert Tony’s gorilla-like hands snapping and a dramatic pause for effect], boom, game over, thats when all suffering ends.”
Completely, and utterly, my fault — I, as I would imagine is the case with most people, had this blueprint in my head of what I expected this person to do. Inevitably, when they didn’t follow through on my expectations I was left disappointed.
So there I was, left anxiously looking down at my phone, waiting for a response. Anything. Even a “fuck you I don’t want to speak to you” type of response. Nothing.
This could very well just be paranoid me, but I’m sure this has happened before — almost always when a response is needed most. To make matters worse, I would see this individual active on social media. May as well stab me in the neck with a knife.
Event 2) Went on Holiday
Holidays are cool. Except when you’re frantically wanting to grab your phone and share every minuscule detail on social media. To be fair, I wasn’t distracted the entire time. But my mind was definitely in a distant planet.
I felt this urge to pull out my phone and show what I was doing all the time. It was so odd to notice this. I caught myself hundreds of times itching for the black mirror to record or share my experience instead of indulging and enjoying the present moment.
By making a conscious effort to stop making my phone an extension of my being, I have managed to reduce my anxiety a shit ton.
The first stage is just wanting to change — in any transformative endeavor. If you don’t really want to lose fat and become the best version of yourself, no amount of money, trainers or secret sorcery shit will help you. And even if it does, it either 1) won’t be fulfilling because you didn’t work for it so you’ll just be a knob anyway or 2) you will gain all the weight back because it wasn’t worth it.
Solutions to conquering your phone addiction
1) Track your screen time
Once you have made an effort to reduce your current state of unhappiness, then you need to track how much time you are spending on your phone. Most phones provide rather in depth analytics as to how much time you’re spending on the phone. Otherwise I’m sure there are apps you can download.
It’s rather fucking scary when I realised I was spending almost 4 — wait, let me repeat, four — hours on my phone daily.
You know how much I could get done in four hours? Not much actually.
But considerably more than if I hadn’t spent it looking down and curving my back into a cartesian plane while I get sucked into the vortex of memes and messages.
2) Set Yourself A Goal
My current goal is roughly an hour of social media or less between Facebook and Instagram. I have set a limit to 30 min on each platform daily. I don’t uphold this goal well at all, but it’s made me considerably more aware of the amount of time I’m wasting on social media.
3) Intermittent Fast
I’ve wrote extensively about intermittent fasting and how it can accelerate fat loss and add a level of flexibility to dieting that is hard to match. But, since we’re chatting about phones and anxiety, might I pose an idea?
Do the same thing for social media. One of the worst things you can do is look at your email or Instagram page first thing in the morning. You are priming your brain for instant gratification early in the day. This is something that will make an obscene amount of difference in alleviating early morning anxiety and throughout the day.
Intermittent fasting/time-restricted feeding is when you limit your caloric intake for the day into a period of X hours. I usually go for 16/8. 16 hours fasting (consuming zero calories from only water or black coffee or even keto coffee) and 8 hours feasting. In terms of social media, you can do the same. “Batch” the time you want to see your friends getting fucked up the night before on Instagram to a period of time. You can even do this with email to make you more productive, too.
Another thing, at night, an hour before bed, don’t look at your feed (for you ballies out there a ‘feed’ is your social media not the cheese crackers in the cupboard). This alone has helped me tremendously.
I would be lying to your face if I said that I have a hold of my anxiety. I don’t. But taking the measure to be aware of my social media intake has made a huge difference. Pairing this with meditation is key to allowing mental clarity to organically emerge within my day.
I’m not one of those annoying ‘gurus’ thats telling you the world is going to shit and social media is the sole blame. It’s an awesome tool for a host of different reasons. But, I just see way too many people (myself included obvs) trading the present moment for looking at some stupid shit on Facebook.
As a person with possibly the worst FOMO on plant earth (ask my friends for confirmation, I literally will say yes to anything and everything if given the slightest chance), I can say that the above measures are necessary for me.
One of the most debilitating feelings is when you are staying in for the night (due to work or money or all of the above) and you see people on Instagram posting photos from an event that you are not attending. It’s fucking shit! This has caused me many of sleepless nights in the past.
But, understand this: mostly, all those people are facing problems themselves and just because it’s all smiles on stories or status’, it doesn’t tell the full story. Those photos are a snapshots in time. Like anything, a snapshot can give an insanely skewed perception of reality.
For the most part, the people that are “crazy fucking happy” and are always posting positive messages, are sometimes facing major problems behind the screen.
How people treat you in person and the level of presence when you are talking will tell you everything you need to know. Life is just too fucking short to be unhappy — and your phone is probably causing most of that unhappiness.
To wrap this up, watch this:
This talk between Joe Rogan and a Professor on the link between anxiety and our mobile devices scared the habajebeez out of me.
If you ever need to talk to someone, you know where to find me. I’m here and you’re not alone.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, you are loved by many and your phone is an instant-grat machine that can fuck you up if you are not careful.
Have a good one, peace!