Endless Distraction

I want to share a story today about something that, my guess, has happened to many of us. I was putting a puzzle together with my daughter and felt my phone’s vibration go off in my pocket. Instinctively, I reached down to see who needed me at that moment, only to find out that my phone was not there. My phone was upstairs on my bureau where I left it. This is what some refer to as the twitch.

This moment upset me. It had happened before, but I usually just shrugged it off. Not this time, though…had I become so programmed that I am mindlessly feeling and reaching for things that are not there?!!

That day I tried to figure out just how programmed I had become…how deep are the roots of this mindless habit? The following were my painful observations of my behavior.

*When I retrieved my phone from my bureau, I instantly checked it to see if I “missed” a text or a call. And every few minutes, impulsively pressed the home button to light up the screen.

*While driving, I felt the twitch again only to see my phone on my dashboard where I kept it.

*Standing in a long line at the store, I reached for the phone to pass the time.

*Three more times in the evening, I felt the urge to check and use the phone to review emails, texts, and run various games.

Needless to say, I was a bit disgusted by how strong the twitch’s calling was. I felt tremendous anxiety when I did not follow through on the urge.

I am now working to correct this terrible habit.

It has been almost a week since that fateful wake-up call, and I have had time to dig into how it has impaired my ability to be in the moment.

The twitch signifies a larger problem. It is not only about a phone but also the impulsive nature of needing constant input or distraction in one’s life. Look around and observe- the chances are that you will see people walking with their head down, lost in their glowing device. Or, perhaps they are in a line catching up on Facebook. Or, they are checking their phone quickly at a stoplight. Or, worst yet, reading their phone while they are spending time with their kids.

To me, the twitch is all the noise that sucks the magic out of the present moment. Why do we need to get lost in our device? Why do we need a constant distraction?

I remember the days when I did not have a phone. In my downtime (the line at the store, waiting room, sitting with nothing to do), I would think and allow my thoughts to sort themselves out. It was so beautiful to allow my brain a break where it could process out all that happened in the day. Anxiety was less. Happiness was more.

I guess that the rising levels of anxiety in adults and children are directly linked to constantly being distracted. The constant streaming of noise we are force-feeding our brains is impairing its ability to decompress and recharge.

Maybe it’s time to put the phone down for a while and take back control.

You’re not going to miss anything…In fact, you will be gaining….gaining back all the precious moments…the magical interaction real life has to offer…your kids laughter…a sunset…or just watching the day pass you by.

How awesome were the days where we had nothing to do but hang out and have a real conversation with…..hold on…just felt my phone…UGH!

Be well

-MJ

Photo by Jens Johnson via Unsplash

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