Whether we want to admit it or not, some of us live on our devices. We use our phones every day to stay in contact with friends and family, use social media, find new recipes, scroll mindlessly, and more. What if we had the right tools available on our phones to just be mindful? To take a second from scrolling or stalking a celebrity’s social media and to just be present. During the pandemic Washington Post reports: screen time has skyrocketed for all ages and as we creep back into normalcy we have to start being more mindful of how we utilize our time on our phones. In the article a Houston-based doctor named Eric Singhi says: ”It’s important to be mindful of how that screen time is used. He spent a good bit of time hunting down medical information and finding peace through meditation with apps such as Headspace.” The article also covers how too much screen time can cause anxiety and depression. 

So what if instead of using our screentime for social media, we could use it to read, journal, meditate, or help the Earth by staying off of our phones for a couple of hours? 

Reading: 

     Studies have shown that reading for just 30 minutes a day reduces blood pressure problems and alleviates stress just as much as doing yoga. There are tons of apps on the app store that you can read in no time! Some of my favorites are Kindle and Nook since you can view graphic novels, magazines and children’s books. There’s thousands of genres to choose from and they even have cookbooks available! Another favorite of mine is Libby. If you have a local library, you can download apps and audiobooks through your Kindle app or the Libby app itself. The best part is…all the books are free! 

Journaling: 

Writing in general can be therapeutic and a lot of us do not have the time some days to sit down and write on pen and paper. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of writing down all your feelings into an app, I suggest that you start small. Take five to ten minutes at the end of each day to write down what you are grateful for. It can be as small as your cup of coffee or as big as a random act of kindness you received that specific day. Ending your day reflecting on gratitude. instead of scrolling on social media will benefit you. If you would rather use an app I highly suggest stoic. for my Apple users and Daybook for my Android users! There are tons of other apps available if you don’t find them to be the right fit for you. 

Meditation

The first thing I think of when I hear someone talking about meditation is Headspace. The reason for that is the creator of Headspace, Andy Puddicombe, has made it his mission to spread the joy about meditation through Netflix and social media. They even have research on their website providing on how meditation can improve your everyday life. In the article: “The Many Health Benefits of Meditation” the first paragraph states: “Most people are likely familiar with the positive side effects of meditation associated with mental health: increased awareness, clarity, compassion, and a sense of calm. Improved focus is another benefit commonly associated with meditation. In fact, one study showed that 4 weeks of using the Headspace app can increase focus by 14%, while another showed that just a single session cuts mind-wandering by 22%.” I highly suggest checking out the free trial. If you don’t like them, there’s another app called Calm which has a different tone to the meditation aspect and even has stories to put you to sleep. 

Earth Friendly Focusing Apps

If you are interested in saving the Earth and love trees and want to spend less time on your phone, I highly suggest Forest and Flora. They both provide timers so you stay off of your phone and I recently talked about Forest in a previous article on BetterYou about how to stay motivated as a college student. I also enjoy Flora because it gives you an option to use it as a Chrome extension so that if you’re not distracted on your phone, you can’t be distracted by opening additional tabs either. These are both eco friendly apps that will provide you with rewards to grow and plant trees all while being mindful of your time! 

Staying Present

Our phones are with us everywhere we go and in our hands as we fall asleep. It is important to realize that we need to use the tools we have to make the best of our everyday life as we start to emerge from the pandemic. For a lot of us, our phone has become our best friend and it is now time to go back out into the world and use our time wisely. As we use our phones, we must take time to be mindful instead of mindless.