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January 17, 2020

Unplugged.

We live in a society where technology is immensely ingrained in our lives. Whilst the creation of smartphones has revolutionise the way we live in many positive ways, we may not realise the costs that comes with it.

I recently came across the term “phubbing” (a combination of phone + snubbing). Yes, it’s a real word! Which basically means paying attention to your phone rather than the person you’re with in social situations. Research has shown that phubbing negatively affects quality of relationships because it creates a lack of presence with people around you. Let’s face it, we are all guilty of this some way or another whether it’s with our romantic partners, family or friends.

When I reflected about my own habits, I came to realise that my phubbing revolved a lot around using social media. I am indeed one of those millennials who has gotten myself lured into the whole Instagram blackhole, scrolling through it whenever and wherever. Upon this realisation, I decided to deactivate my account and uninstalled the app from my phone altogether the next day to see how my life would change.

This is what I noticed and learned from my weeks of social media detox:

  1. I feel more connected with people – When I’m not preoccupied thinking what caption to write for my Instastories, I’m actually engaging in conversations and paying attention to what’s going on around me. I go home genuinely happier because of the quality time I had with my loved ones!
  2. I have more chances to be productive and more free time – Rather than compulsively scrolling my Instagram every chance I get, I don’t have any more distractions and I actually get to finish my work faster! As a result of that, I have more time to do things that interests me during my spare time such as painting and exercising.
  3. I feel healthier mentally – I initially felt a bit awkward picking up my phone and realising my thumb is automatically pressing into a blank space where my app once used to be. Over time I feel more at peace and in control as I’m not subconsciously socially comparing my life with others anymore. More time and energy are focused on myself.
  4. I sleep better – Do you find yourself saying, “Okay just 10 minutes of looking at my Instagram and I’ll go to sleep”. *30 minutes later… You find yourself still scrolling!* That behaviour has certainly been eliminated as the opportunity to do so is gone. I’ve been sleeping earlier and getting quality sleep too.
  5. I realise what’s really important – It’s not about being up-to-date about other people’s lives nor is it about getting approval from others by posting the funniest videos or getting 500 likes. It’s about living in the moment, connecting with yourself and your loved ones offline, not online.

How about giving yourself a chance to take a break? Remember, if you spend more time looking down rather than up, you’re missing out more in life than you realise. Time once lost never comes back!

-Zen, Intern Counsellor

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