So the New Year has come and with it, the reflective mood that always accompanies this time of year. In January, I always find myself asking questions about how I spent the last year, what I value, and what my goals are, and one thing that has really been sticking out to me in the past few weeks is The Internet. I’m a millennial through and through, and a huge champion of the internet and the technological revolution. The internet has been a place to learn and express myself since I started using it as a child. I’ve learned new skills, made lifelong friends, and hopefully taught people a few things and made them smile through the connectivity that the internet offers.
HOWEVER, I’ve noticed the longer I’ve had a smartphone, the more dependent on it I have become. Whenever my real life seems to “pause” for a moment, I reflexively reach for this amazing little rectangle in my pocket (or more likely my purse because let’s be real- I can’t fit an iPhone+ in girl pockets) and begin scrolling. I think this “scrolling” habit has negatively affected my life in a few ways: it distracts me from the opportunity to just breathe and be genuinely restful throughout my day, I feel less present with the people around me, my attention span has gotten smaller, and the constant barrage of THINGS to look at has made me feel more materialistic than I would like to. Even writing this blog post, I just took a two minute break to look at Instagram on my phone without realizing it. What is UP with me???
While I love using technology to feel connected to those I love, to really learn things, and to express my creativity, it needs to stop being a distraction from the pursuit of being present and content with my life. So this year, I’m going to do a few things to help minimize the scrolling and focus back in on the here and now:
- Plug my phone in outside of my bedroom at night, and not pick it up first thing in the morning
- Unsubscribe from all the marketing e-mails lists I’ve signed up for over the years
- Put the phone away when I’m eating a meal with others
- Try to shift my internet usage to my computer. It takes more effort to casually browse and (I’m hoping) will help me realize how much “screen time” I’m actually spending doing nothing
- Attempt to start practicing minimalism. Other than Youtube-related spending, I don’t really need to spend money on anything other than necessities. I’m hoping this will also help me focus on ethical shopping!
Being present with the people I love and learning to be happy with what I have are really important goals that I have this year, and I think doing a little bit of an internet detox will help me reset. The internet is an amazing tool, but it can also be a double-edged sword: the adult version of my “frenemy.”
Since this whole practice is going to be brand new to me, I’m super curious to know: what do you think about the relationship between the internet and your mindfulness/presence? Let’s talk!