Balancing Act

What are we using our phones for anymore? Are we using them simply as a distraction device to make sure our minds never feel bored? When did being bored become a bad thing? It seems as if so many times we pride ourselves on being busy all the time. “How many clubs are you in?” “What organizations are you apart of?” “Why aren’t you planning on doing something this weekend?” We’ve become so caught up in this crazy world of always having to do something that sometimes we forget to breathe. There have been so many times I just lay in my bed in the middle of the day thinking, “What do I have to do next?” and when I can’t think of anything I believe I have either forgotten about something or am looking for my next thing to do.

I really don’t enjoy this idea that I always have to be busy or should always be doing something. I reject the idea that we are built to always be doing something. Smartphones and the expansion of the internet have further ingrained into our heads that we should always be busy, apps, texting, and social media have made sure that everything we could ever hope for is at our fingertips 24/7. Awkward elevator ride? Just grab your phone and do something. Walking around town and don’t want to make eye contact with anyone? Pull out your phone. So many missed opportunities of looking around and actually seeing the world because we felt awkward or we felt as if we should be doing something.

Paul Miller had a great TED talk about how he quit the internet for a year. He was 26 years old and he talks about boredom. His boredom came and he wasn’t able to “fix it” by something that’s an arm’s length away. He discovered that that was his time to think about what he really wanted to do instead of “taking the path of least resistance” which was using the internet. His interactions with people became more intense, he was able to be more in the moment with people, not worrying about the possibility of missing something online, and he was able to be more emotionally available. He does think that the internet is a really great tool but he wanted to find the balance between always being on and always being off. He found his balance, will you?

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4 thoughts on “Balancing Act

  1. I think we can definitely get caught up in being too invested I’m the idea of being constantly stimulated, but I would say that for a lot of people it’s more of a self-care or coping mechanism than anything else. Like you mentioned, a lot of us will take out our phones when we don’t want to make eye contact or interact with someone, and this is definitely an anxiety survival mechanism. Is it healthy? That’s debatable, but it’s certainly effective, and that’s why a lot of us do it. People will always fascinate me, because if you give them something entirely new, they will always figure out how to use it in a way that fills another role. Yes, we use phones for communication, but how crazy is it that we also use them to avoid communication? Super cool.

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    1. These are all excellent points! I think the mental health side of things has both been helped and harmed by so much technology but only time will tell what the overall experience brings us. Thank you for reading!

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