Written by Lauren Trend..

"It became clear to me in this instant. That what I actually wanted was a relationship with my phone that is centred on creating, not consuming."



Social media can be such a constructive tool, as far as interaction, creativity and connectivity are concerned. It has afforded me/us the ability to build the SP community, a global readership, share our content/events, and connect other like minded thinkers and do-ers across oceans and seas. The digital landscape really has been the foundation upon which Self Practice is built. For this I am incredibly grateful. 

Surveying my own personal relationship with digital tools and devices has come up for me a lot of late. You may have noticed that things have been slowing down for us a little on Instagram because of this. I will thank mercury's recent retrograde for shutting down some of my appliances for me - however it has been both a passive and active decision to really reflect upon my reliance (namely, thoughtless habits) when it comes to my digital footprint. Whilst SP content is never mindless nor thoughtless, my personal presence and checking in on social media most certainly has been. We are all familiar with the way a mindless scroll can rob us of minutes/hours, and so instead of forever feeling guilty about it - I have decided to take honest inventory and a hands on approach. 

To have a conscious and more constructive relationship with my phone is the working goal at the moment; my number one self-practice. A relationship that is conducive to my overall wellbeing. One that, plain and simple, leaves me feeling good. They say that the average person looks at their mobile phone approximately one hundred and fifty times a day. Here is a case, for me, where being above average is not received as positively as my 'above average' report card was by my parents, growing up. If Instagram clocked your hours, I'd indefinitely be a star student. 

They also say the first step of tackling a problem, is in fact admitting that you do have a problem. So, here we are.. 

I would (and still do) make excuses for myself, as to why it's ok to be on my phone, whilst knowing full well the negative impact it was/is having on my mental (and I am certain,) physical health.  "Being on Instagram helps business grow. I need to have presence to ensure it stays top of mind. I need to have presence on socials so others can know about what's on the site. My best friend lives interstate what if she's messaged or called - yep I need to check in with her. I use it to take photos, its a tool for work, people need to get onto me.." I am certain you have a list of your own, that maybe (or maybe doesn't) sound alarmingly similar. We're really good at rationalising - I love that about humans. The issue lies when we rationalise to feed our un-constructive habits.

So, I posed the question to myself:

How can you use your practicality and rationality to make changes, not pander to pre-existing behaviours that clearly aren't serving you?

And let this be a quick note to say that this is by no means a judgement-piece on phone use or call out people that are on their phone all the time. If that's you and that's working for you - by all means, be my guest and put definition to the term 'endless scroll'!! You do you. This re-evaluation of my own behaviour came about because my relationship with my phone wasn't feeling good for me. I was anxious, feeling distracted, like my habits were ruling me - not I, them. I was partaking in comparison, and feeling socially excluded (when that absolutely wasn't the case, the brain just has fun with that one whenever it see's IG stories of anyone, hanging out anywhere that you aren't.)

Point being - I noticed it being a real depletion, not a positive addition. And so I suppose this evaluation acts as an honest account of such behaviours, and a working dialogue as to how I/we tackle feeling/doing otherwise to not feel so overrun by said relationship. 

One thing I felt really helpful was taking all of my excuses (as to why I am/need to be constantly on my phone) and rebutting them. 

- Self Practice is a business that will grow as long as I am energetically, intellectually and creatively aligned with its values. My mindfulness and the affect that has on my company far outweighs the prevalence or importance of any number of followers. 

- But I want to use my camera all the time. Cool - Your iPhone camera still works on flight mode. Creating, not consuming. Are you starting to see the rhythm?

I found this exercise really helpful. Maybe if you find yourself attached to your phone, but wanting some space - perhaps give it a go? 

I also got clear about my intentions using certain apps and programs. There are certainly positives and major productivity hacks that our phones offer. So, I asked: What were they? And how can I use them constructively? Mindfully? 

- I want to use Instagram to feel charged, not depleted. The minute I start feeling weighted by consumption and no longer inspired to create, I'll switch on flight mode and switch my attention. 

If throwing your phone out the window and telling all your friends to contact you via carrier pigeon henceforth is a tad too extreme, here are a few other intentions/tools/tips that may reduce your iPhone attachment and help create a more positive relationship with said device: 

- Setting your phone screen to grey scale. This was a tip from my friend Harry. It is said to make your phone less 'engaging' and will increase your want to pick it up and scroll. I struggled with this, but it may work for you..
- Turning off push notifications (especially on Facebook, Insragram  & e-mail) 
- Downloading an App that measures the apps you use the most. (I laughed at myself when I write this. Welcome to the now. and App to monitor another App. We are living in the future.) But in all seriousness, it might surprise you how much time you are actually spending on your phone, and where that allocation of time is going. 
- Whilst working, leaving your phone (on silent) in the other room. (I am embarrassed to admit how many times I mindlessly stopped typing/writing/creating to pick up and scroll the first few times I tried this!!)
- Whilst sleeping, charging your phone in another room. This means purchase an alarm clock. I finally did after listening to Simon Sinek tell me to. 

And I must say, buying said alarm clock has been the big winner for me, here. I no longer mindlessly scroll first thing & this is huge. It has afforded me the ability to create my mornings, not consume the lives of others as soon as I wake. After I've showered, lit some incense, set my intention for the day.. It's only when I walk out the door now, to start my day, that I switch my phone off airplane mode. Ready and consciously willing to accept interactions with others, on my own terms. 

- Lauren is the Founder & Editor of Self Practice

MindLauren Trend