Start Thinking, Stop Scrolling

You wake up, alarm going off. Excuse me — iPhone alarm going off.

In case you were not already aware, “Bedtime” (a program within the “Clock” App) monitors your movement and notes how much time you stay in bed while awake as well as how much time you spend sleeping. It watches you all night, gathering reference data and storing it in the “Health” App.

You reach over to hit snooze, but it’s too late. Within three seconds you’ve already caught a glimpse of at least five news alerts on your home screen. Keywords include: North Korea, sexual assault allegations, #metoo, train derailment, and amber alert. If you weren’t awake before, you certainly are now. And, though you may or may not realize it, you’re stressin’ already. Before even taking a moment to welcome the new day, you’ve filled your brain with external information with high stakes content. Before even getting a speck of sunlight, you’ve splashed your face with some refreshing LED lighting. Rise and shine.

Now, you’re supposed to get up and focus on eating breakfast, but you can’t be too mindful during that because you’re checking the time, compulsively…

… and reading the news

… and scrolling Facebook and Instagram and Twitter.

It’s no wonder you can’t focus — look at how you start your day.

In a time when we spend almost no time without our smartphones, self-care is imperative. Many of us do not realize the impact our technology habits have on our lives.

Now, take a look at this alternative morning:

You open your eyes. You turn off your alarm. You don’t look at any of your notifications. In fact, there aren’t any because you’ve turned them off because they cause you minor stress when you see them first thing. You take a deep breath and tell yourself that it’s going to be a good day. You sit up and slide out of bed. Your feet hit the cold floor with a thud, you walk to the bathroom and wash your face. You drink some water. You have breakfast. You still haven’t checked the news or any social media and consequently, you feel less busy. Less scattered. You’re focused only on the now. Instead of rushing to occupy your brain while having breakfast you just sit. Maybe you take out a journal and write a little. When you go to see how the traffic is or how the trains are running, it’s the first time you’ve really looked at your phone.

Okay, for some of us this just isn’t a possibilty. Some people do not have the luxury of being able to ignore their phones all morning on a workday. However, anyone can take a few minutes to allow their brain to wake up before they look at their phone/computer/tablet. I’ll admit, sometimes I still go to Instagram or emails before I’ve taken that time myself. But instead of berating myself for it, I simply use those moments as a reminder to step back and get grounded for a second.

Take notice of your technology habits. As we continue to move forward in the age of the iPhone, it’s important to understand the ways in which we sabotage our own creativity or peace at mind by refusing to allow our brains time and space for free expression. Breath before you read, observe your own thoughts before you swallow someone else’s and remember that only YOU have the power to change the narrative of your life. If you haven’t been as productive as you’d like or can’t seem to express yourself the way you wish you could, take note of what you’re ingesting. If you’re reading hard news and facts constantly, you will likely remain uninspired and somewhat agitated. Reading is something that can nourish the mind, but if you’re not reading things that stimulate the areas of your brain related to creativity and joy, consider switching it up. Mindless entertainment by way of scrolling is only satisfying for so long. Sooner or later, your mind will start to feel the neglect. Without attending to our own thoughts, contemplations and ideas, we become depressed, lethargic and uninspired. If you take a more mindful approach to technology use and media consumption, you’ll find that life without constant digital engagement is actually kind of cool and significantly more conducive to one’s happiness and wellbeing.

2018 is calling for a shift in the way we as humans live. Now more than ever, we need to reconnect with ourselves and return to the abundance of original expression and self-awakening. Read things that motivate you to live a life you love and give your brain a little time to breathe each and every day — I promise it will thank you.