Does being without your phone - for even a minute - cause you to experience extreme, unpleasant anxiety? Are you gripped by panic when your phone battery dies and you can’t reply to your WhatsApp convos until you reach a charger? Read this now, and learn how to exist with your phone, in a mindful way.
It’s pretty trendy these days to do a full digital detox, even just for a day. No screens. No distractions. Just you, a human body. Being in the world. Looking at people. Talking and listening. All good stuff.
Of course, if you saw our (hilarious and accurate) Christmas video, then you’ll know that even though we’re well into phones and all that, we’re also pretty down with the whole ‘use responsibly’ mentality. Phones are good and can hugely enhance your life, and we wouldn’t wish a Snapchat-filterless existence on anyone out there.
But it’s also kinda sad when you panic at the thought of leaving your iPhone in the other room to charge, just in case someone texts you. Or that you can’t enjoy a meal without taking a picture of it first. Or that you have to take your phone with you to the toilet. C’mon guys, we’re better than that.
If you’re a serial iPhone purchaser, you’ll be entrenched in behaviours that could be added to your stress.
Give yourself some space and follow these mindfulness tips to get the most out of your iPhone, while also allowing your mental health time to flourish.
Practise home screen feng-shui
Having your apps set out in a random order is soooooo 2015. You do know that you have the power to move things onto other pages, put things in folders and actually organise how your phone is set out?
Try putting all your social media apps in one folder and moving them to the last page on your phone. That way you have to actually make a decision to check your feed, rather than just letting your finger’s muscle memory make that journey for you.
Do a sweep of your push notifications
Oh, that burst of anticipation when you see your screen light up from the corner of your eye. Only the strongest of souls can exercise the willpower to not instantly check what it is and who it’s from.
Of course, all you need to do is swipe a few buttons and your phone screen will remain as black and pure as the darkest night. Perfect for busy work days, family gatherings or just those quiet, reflective moments when you don’t want Whatsapp all up in your grill. Remember, you can always turn them on again when you’re done.
Flickr via Jeff Turner
Use the update pop-up as a sign
Every. Single. Day. The update screen. All iPhone users know what we’re on about. Do you update tonight? Or right now? Or just press ‘remind me later’ again and again and again until all life ceases to exist and the world stops turning and your phone remains on the first-ever iteration of your iOS for all eternity.
Of course, there is another option. You could just… plug in your phone, update it, and use the time away from your device to focus on other things. Like, how you’re feeling, for example.
Download a ton of Mindfulness apps
Of course, your phone can also be the tool that helps you take the time to focus your mind and body on meditation and good mental health. Aside from the big dogs like Headspace (a free app designed to guide busy millennials through small but focused sessions) and iMindfulness (a huge library of guided meditations for £1.49), there are also some smaller but beautifully designed apps. We like Buddhify for its clever functionality – you can pick your session based on your need – like if you can’t sleep, or are stressed at work. Smiling Mind is another cute app with the ability to track moods and look for patterns too.
Get techy with Do Not Disturb mode
People often get scared to switch on this super-useful function, but it’s way easier than you think to adapt it to your specific needs. So, for example, if you want to avoid texts or notifications, but still allow calls from specific contacts, then you can set them to come through. Or, even more specifically, if the same person rings you more than once (signalling urgency) they will not be silenced.
You can also schedule DND mode to pop on at certain times during the day, so you remove the need to temptingly, lovingly, unlock your phone just to switch it on.
Give your phone a home
Spending time looking for your phone or keeping it obsessively in your hand is pretty time-consuming. You don’t want to end up having a kind of Frodo/ring LOTR relationship with a piece of hardware, do you? No.
Have a place where you keep your phone and make sure it stays there unless you need it – that way you’ll be less inclined to go into autopilot and discover you’ve scrolled through 900 posts of the Imgur front page and effectively melted four hours away.
Remind yourself of your own success
It’s pretty easy starting anything like this, but sticking to it is the tricky part. Luckily, your iPhone has loads of features that will help you remind yourself of all the benefits and happiness you’re getting from these little breaks.
Maybe set your background to a powerful message that you associate with mindfulness. Or you could actually set yourself notifications, alarms or reminders to take a break from your phone. Keep the messages positive, though. It’s more beneficial to be motivated by the desire to maintain a good thing, than trying to escape failure or shame.
Feeling inspired? Good. Go, and be peaceful.