silence, please

Why You Should Put Your Phone In Airplane Mode When You Go To Sleep (And Other Ways To Achieve Digital Consciousness)

Because, after all, does all of this constant connectivity really mean we are more connected?

How many of us spend more time connecting with our social media feed than we do with the people sitting in front of us? Guessing most of us are mentally raising our hand right about now. Don’t get us wrong: Technology is great. To be able to Skype my family from another country, to be able to speak to them as if we were in the same room, is amazing. To be able to hop online and find the answer to just about any question in less than a minute is still an instance that blows my mind when I think too much about it.

Yet, just as with everything in our life, we should be conscious in using this constant connectivity for our greater benefit, lest it otherwise overtake our minds in unhealthy habits and addictive behavior. Digital consciousness is important now more than ever, as those little devices in our pockets have the ability to increase our quality of life, yes, but also severely affect our peace, our well-being and our connection to the actual world.

So, how can we interact with the digital world in a mindful and conscious way? How can we create a healthy pattern of using technology in ways that foster  productivity, efficiency, peace—and real world connection?

1. Wake up. What do you do when you first wake up? Check your phone? Us, too. Our suggestion? Put your phone on airplane mode while you sleep. One, it’s said that flight mode reduces the radiation levels that may otherwise affect you in the longterm while you sleep. Two, you won’t wake to any notifications that will otherwise distract you as you greet the day. When you abstain from checking your phone as you wake, you are creating your own mood for your day, rather than reacting to stimuli which will affect your mood. I even keep my phone on flight mode while I do my morning meditation so that I connect with my self before I connect with anything else.

If you live with someone, why not make your first connection with another person—a kiss, hug or “Good Morning”—before you connect to the world. Will your life really explode if you don’t read your emails at 7am?

2. Turn off the auto-alerts. That little red icon highlighting unread messages pulls us all in. But do you really need to be notified with every email or Like of a picture? Go into your phone’s settings and turn off all notification icons for anything that isn’t necessary. Don’t want to miss anything? You can go into your apps at any time to refresh, but on your own time.

3. Leave it. When you are in a social situation, what purpose does having the phone on the table in front of you serve? Having your phone out is distracting (and actually quite rude), especially when your company sees you react to a notification mid-conversation. Leave the phone in your bag, guys.

4. Other ways to disconnect?

  • Never have your phone on loud. Keep it on silent or vibrate.
  • Grayscale your phone; learn how do that here). It’s much less appealing to pick up and look at unconsciously.
  • Check emails only at specific times in the day. (This one changed my partner’s life in terms of his working efficiency.) Choose two or three times a day to check in. Same with social media.
  • If you do want to have a scroll sesh, put a timer on your phone and look at Facebook or Instagram for only, say, ten minutes.
  • Next time you are out to dinner and your friend goes to the bathroom, instead of picking up your phone for stimulation, stimulate your senses with where you are. Notice the other people, the smells, the sounds of your environment.
  • Take a technology-free day. (Sundays can be a good day.) Or, at the very least, a laptop-free day. Use your technology as little as possible on that designated day, and get out and about with people, or nature—or just be.

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