First things first, I am a millennial, so to say there haven't been times where I've lost hours scrolling through Instagram or that I've never had my phone laid out on the dinner table would be a lie. However, I have also started to realise how much I rely on my phone, particularly in times where I find myself 'stranded' with no battery - no maps, no WhatsApp, no music and I feel embarrassingly lost, even if its only for the same bus route I take home every day, I dread the thought of any journey without some sort of entertainment. The worst part is that this feeling is now normal for most people.
It was maybe a year or two ago when I realized I hate that feeling of dependency and what that dependency meant; I feel less capable than I actually am, but more worryingly that I can't stand my own company so much so that I need something to distract my thoughts for the 5 minutes that I wait for my bus, only to miss it because I'm not paying attention.
I think about it a lot, why are people constantly on their phones? What are they doing on them?
Are they reading? Learning? Playing a game? Scrolling through twitter? I look around on the train and I can count on one hand how many people aren't looking at a screen, even people with company - rude!?
I find it funny; we all complain about how we don't have enough time for anything, how there's always so much going on in our heads that we can't sleep or think straight. Yet when we do have a moment, say waiting for the bus or riding the train, we load up on mindless things like what that guy from high school you haven't seen in over a decade had for lunch, and then you like it cause, you know, it's important to support your friends and whatever.
We're told to meditate, be mindful, quiet the mind, blah blah blah, with warning that it's also not easy, which it definitely is not. It also takes the effort of finding somewhere quiet and comfortable to sit and actually do it - which I know to a lot of people is not appealing. But why aren't we told more about the variations? Just like yoga (and probably some other exercises), there are modifications for different levels in meditation too.
So why don't we start smaller? Most people want to quiet their minds, which is all well and good, but let's be honest, it's pretty advanced stuff to be controlling our minds from the get go, with all those random thoughts constantly running around wreaking havoc. Maybe the reason we find it so hard to quiet them is because they want to be heard. So how about instead of trying to silence them, we listen to them?
Give this a go.
Take those moments where we'd usually be mindlessly scrolling through our phones to give our minds a break from all the technology. Even if it's just walking to the coffee shop at lunch, try walking without music or looking at your phone. Better yet forget the phone all together. Look out of the window, look at everyone around you, smell those smells, feel a connection with the world, listen to whatever pops into your mind and open up a channel of communication with yourself. You don't need to have an answer to everything that comes up, just acknowledge what does. If you're not sure what that means and don't really know what to do, start off with categorising them. Sad, happy, funny etc. Then ask yourself why that might have come up. Something that's been worrying you recently, something on your todo list, something sparked your memory. Whatever you feel like being curious about, be curious about it! Get to know what your mind is saying and why! Funnily enough you might even find that those thoughts that have been making a raucous in your head begin to lower their voices a little.
(can you tell I've just discovered stock photos?)