When is the last time you disconnected from your cell phone? Not your laptop, desktop or tablet, but your phone? Chances are you’re probably viewing this article on your precious device. If you aren’t, we bet a whole lot of others are.
While it’s true that it has brought the power of information from world over into the palms of our hands, giving us the ease to access what we want with the touch of a button, there is a catch.
Instant access to information apart, the instant gratification we seem to be getting from replying to messages on the trot, is taking more from your health than you should be prepared to give.
While the earlier means of communicating (think handwritten letters and even the occasional call from a landline) was exciting due to the element of surprise that came with it, they were healthy medium of communicating as well.
You were not expected to reply as soon as the ticks turned blue. The idea of reverting did not feel like a mammoth task and you certainly did not feel guilty for being busy.
As a result, our replies were far more personal and thoughtful because the content of the message mattered far more than the time it took to compose them.
From emails to WhatsApp, being ‘always online’ has flipped the way we communicate on its head.
We live in the ‘always online’ era so much that even if you dare to switch off your cell phone to breathe a little, there will be an array of messages from your boss and your job may be in question or your mother may be bombarding your voicemail, calling for the umpteenth time, worried as to why you haven’t replied to her “Khaana Kha Liya” question.
We surely don’t know how it became so important to reply to everything within a few minutes, including the number of tags on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the chats in WhatsApp and other personal messages, the emails, and the mandatory “HAHAs” on the forwards in the family groups.
The expectation of replying has an exhaustive implication on health and wellbeing.
The ‘side-effect’ of being always available online is that it is truly exhausting in the long run. Your hyper-availability is actually stealing from you, a lot more than you bargained for. It is hurting you in ways, you wouldn’t have imagined.
Here’s how your undetachable moments with your precious cell phone is stealing from you more than it is giving back to you:
Ironically the phones are doing the exact opposite of the purpose they were originally created for—spending time with your loved ones.
With cell phones, you are never truly where you are as something or someone is constantly begging for your attention. Jog down your memory and remember the last time you were away from your beloved cellphone for more than an hour? Oh, is that too much? Okay, let us improve. When was the last time you were away from your cell phone for at least 15 minutes (and that does not count phone charging or examination halls.)
If you cannot recall doing so you seriously need to revaluate your relationship with your cell phone. We are so engrossed in taking selfies, check-ins and clicking that perfect photograph of the piping hot coffee, that our conversations seem to fade somewhere in the background. So, put your mobile away, those thank yous, awwws, emojis and comments on social media can wait, your present cannot.
What you should be doing instead? Inform your guardian or partner that you have reached the place you were supposed to be and put your phone on flight mode. Enjoy direct conversations.
It’s intrinsically disturbing your concentration from doing anything else in life.
You need to remember that your mobile is for your own convenience, it is not there to disturb your midnight’s sleep. (remember when a friend call up, just because they couldn’t sleep?) If you feel obliged and even guilty to reply, even though you may not be in the mental space to make a conversation, then why do it anyway?
What you should be doing instead? Tell people who care about you that you are taking some time off of your cell phone, this way you are preparing them not to expect your reply immediately. In fact, pester them to do the same, they may end up thanking you.