There are many facets of our Term Two Wellbeing Theme of Noticing. Initially, we have asked students to continue noticing what does and doesn’t work in terms of their own wellbeing (work we began with last term’s wellbeing theme of Self-Monitoring) and then we moved to noticing the needs of others. This led to a lot of work around the idea of empathy – putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes to know how they are feeling and how best to be there for them.
But what about our habits? How conscious are we of those little crutches we reach for without even noticing. For example… what about your use of mobile devices?
Now nobody would suggest that a life without devices would be a simple – or even a preferable option these days. Our devices make us safer – but giving us the constant ability to be in contact, they can help us track our health and wellbeing through apps, they keep us in close contact with people we care about and help us explore a variety of passions. Even in terms of our learning, we now have almost all of the world’s information on a tiny device in our pockets. Devices are terrific. But like most things – we have to be conscious of how we utilize them. We need to engage with devices MINDFULLY rather than MINDLESSLY.
Have you ever been surprised by that weekly notification your phone gives you of the average time spent each day on your device? I am constantly surprised by mine. In my mind, I use my phone for work, to take photos, and to scroll through Instagram at the end of the evening. I also like to keep an eye on LinkedIn and Twitter, much of which is again for work or for personal learning. How can this really result in several hours per day being spent on my phone?
It’s hard to argue with the photography and the phone calls… but social media is a good place to start in terms of closely considering how mindfully we are using our devices.
Take a look at this short film, which outlines the many ways in which we are being convinced to come back continually to our social media platforms…
If you are interested in becoming more conscious of your social media and/or device use, here are some questions you might like to consider:
When do you reach for your phone?
Most of us use our devices to avoid boredom. How concerned should we be that we may be reaching for these several hours per day then? Can we really be bored that often?
Boredom can also be good for us – when we allow our mind to wander freely often we come up with our most creative ideas. When was the last time your brain surprised you? Perhaps experiment with leaving that phone in your bag or pocket and see if you can surprise yourself.
Also – do you reach for your phone with others? Why? Are we losing the ability to listen to conversations about topics we don’t know about? To talk to people we don’t know that well?
How does your phone make you feel?
If time spent on your phone allows you to create or connect (or in fact any of our five daily habits), then great! Technology certainly has the capacity to do this. But if you ever experience any of the following feelings, you might have reason to feel concerned:
What does your phone use encourage you to do?
Do you notice that you are more like to shop after scrolling Instagram? Feel frustrated after reading controversial opinions on Facebook? Witnessing bullying or simple unkindness on any platform? What is your phone pushing you to do? Have a good think about this.
Who are you when you are online and do you like that person?
Becoming conscious of any behaviour is an important step to creating change – or at least evaluating if there is a need for change. So let’s all see if we can be more mindful about our use of devices!
Photo by Roman Odintsov from Pexels