Guest post by Ramya Raju:
I recently came across an article on soft addictions. They are the seemingly harmless habits that we cultivate, out of necessity or to make a fashion statement, and they slowly become a part of our lifestyle. For instance – ‘drinking endless cups of coffee’ or binging every weekend to celebrate– sounds great in books, but what does it do to your body and your mind? Does it, in any way, help make you a better, happier, more balanced person? More often than not, it makes you irritable and upsets your tummy. It may also give you a rather unattractive appearance – and that in no way can be construed as a step in the direction of self-development!
These harmless habits often become obsessive and before we know it, they have invaded our minds and have nicely taken over our focus and concentration.
A culprit that is ‘trending’ these days is the mobile phone. From a convenient device that helped us connect in maybe a road emergency, saving a trudge to the nearest payphone, the mobile moved on to becoming a style statement to almost a life support system.
Look at what a mobile phone does for you these days. It saves lists of all your appointments, thereby saving your memory cells from wear and tear. We don’t need to remember the date or time or anything at all, we only need to know how to look at the screen of the phone. We fail to tax our brains even the necessary amount. Slowly, you depend so much on it that you are lost without it. You get palpitations if you happen to leave home without it. A palpitation is an agitation and an agitation is unhealthy, it hampers your journey towards a poised YOU.
Indulgent, and somewhat unintelligent (to my mind), parents hand their toddlers mobile phones with games to keep them occupied. What happened to playing ball to develop motor skills or simply running and jumping and screaming?What happened to mental math, an essential aspect of brain development? People use their mobile phone calculators more than their brain cells.
There’s a cartoon doing the rounds via WhatsApp. It shows a mother telling her child to go out and play. He goes out taking the mouse and keyboard with him and continues to play at his playstation…from outside. Scary humour!
Smart phones have everything from WhatsApp to GPRS and many other things that I don’t know of. You can also access your email, Facebook and Twitter and other social media via phone. What happens? You access these applications more than you need. You start saying more than you should and perhaps say things that you shouldn’t. Slowly you are addicted and you need that rush every day. Stay away from Facebook for a day and observe how restless it makes you.
People socialize with their phones. It’s a common site to see a group of people huddled together, all peering into their phones and tapping away madly. Some would argue that it actually helps social interactions because keeping up with the Joneses phone, learning the various features of your phone becomes a talking point. But after any such gathering, you hardly enjoy the satisfied feel of having met with good friends. We are social creatures and we need a good old fashioned chat. But people are so busy taking pictures and uploading them then and there that they have hardly absorbed or enjoyed the essence of the actual interaction.
Soft addictions creep up on you and you hardly notice it. You become one of those people constantly reaching out to check your phone for messages. There are ways and means to prevent this:
- For starters, decide that you will not check your phone oftener than once in an hour. If someone needs you urgently, they will call.
- Avoid accessing Facebook on your mobile.
- Use your desktop once a day for Facebook, Twitter or what have you. The world will not perish without your hourly updates and you will save yourself a lot of needless chatter.
- If you belong to a Whatsapp group, the same thing holds.
- Look at your phone only once every hour.
- And even when you do, do not feel compelled to respond to everything that is said. You already ‘belong’, you don’t have to make your presence felt each time.
- Avoid carrying your mobile phone into your bedroom.
- If you must use it as an alarm clock, try and institute some sort of discipline in yourself; decide that you will not look at the phone after 11PM or so.
Make these necessary changes. You will find yourself dealing and coping far better with situations. Enjoy the peace and calm that goes with it. Enjoy your new personality.
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