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8 Things That Happen When I Put Down My Phone

8 Things That Happen When I Put Down My Phone

Look around you. If you’re in any type of social setting whatsoever, the chances are that a majority of the people you see are using their phones.

Everywhere you look these days, everyone is on their phones. Whether you’re at work, at a restaurant, at a baseball game, or even sitting in traffic!

We’ve become immune to the social customs of our lives pre-cell-phone era. These were the glory days, where we weren’t glued to our “smart” phones. It seems like a lifetime past. Now, we’re enslaved to our little pocket-sized devices, and it’s taking away a lot of joy in our lives.

I know firsthand how tough it can be to set down your phone, but I urge you to try. Sometimes, when I get over the addiction to texting, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Googling all sorts of random things on my phone, I actually realize a lot of good things happening.

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Here are 8 things that typically occur whenever I do put my phone down.

1. I Become More Productive

When I’m not wasting time away looking at random pictures, videos, statuses, updates, and blurbs about nothing, I actually get a lot of work done. As an entrepreneur, I spin a lot of plates at the same time and try my best to do as much as possible. Whether writing a blog like this, networking online, running my podcast, or working on my next project, there’s always something productive that I could be doing. However, I always seem to get caught up in fiddling around on my phone, and I find that less work gets done. When I put the phone down though (far away from me), my output skyrockets!

2. I Become More Social

I often have a little rule about phones when it comes to being with a friend: “Don’t use them!” When you’re with someone, especially say on a date, or in another situation where you are trying to get to know someone better, using your phone is perhaps the biggest insult to the interaction you could make. It totally takes the social aspect and connection out of the attempt at connecting!

I don’t usually do this, but every once in a while I’ll forget my own rule and I’ll look through an email or a text for a minute or two. However, when I realize what I’m doing, I’ll apologize to whoever I’m with and put my phone down. When I do so, I become much more social and much more engaging.

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3. I Am Less Stressed

When I put my phone down, it seems to release a bit of stress and anxiety built up within me. I no longer worry about emailing back someone who’s just emailed me, I don’t worry about texting someone, and I don’t worry about being rude if I’m with a friend. As great as cell phones are, they also are the root cause of a lot of stress. When you put them down you’ll realize this too.

4. I Live In The Moment

Along the same lines of being less stressed, comes living in the moment. When you put your phone away, you take in the world and see more clearly. You don’t think about the future, like what your response is going to be, what you should say in your email, how to word a text, what you should be posting, etc. Instead, you live in the now, in the present and beautiful moment!

5. I Live In Reality, Not In A Virtual World

As great as technology is, and it is pretty awesome, it does have its downsides. One of those downsides is living your life through a screen. This is a virtual simulation, and not truly the world you’re supposed to live in. We are not computers, we are humans! Technology is great, but technology can only mimic certain things. It can’t give you the real thing!

When I put my phone down, I get the real thing. I get all of life, with all of its awesome idiosyncrasies, imperfections, beauties, wonders, tastes, smells, textures, and everything else! I’d choose real sex over porn any day of the week. I’d choose traveling somewhere over looking at a picture. I’d choose a real friendship over a Facebook friendship! All of these things actually happen when I put my phone down and step back into reality!

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6. My Relationships Are Better With Others

My relationships with others are always better when the phone is away. As I mentioned earlier, I try to stick with my rule of not being on the phone when I’m with a friend. It just takes away from the interaction, and can be disrespectful if someone feels slighted or ignored.

When the phone goes down, the level of communication goes up. Friends, family, girlfriend — all love interacting with me when my phone is away. Surprisingly, our relationships are more the better because of this.

7. I Feel More Empowered

When I break the chains of phone enslavement, I feel more empowered. I feel like I am taking control of my life and actively deciding the way I choose to live. If I allow every distraction from my Android to get the better of my attention, I feel less in control. When I take hold of my focus; however, and actively decide to put away the disruptions, I feel great!

8. I Am Happier

I am infinitely happier with the way I handle my phone proclivities these days. I feel like I know when to use my phone and when to let it rest. My social, mental, and occupational lives have all benefitted from my ability to put down my phone. I am definitely happier and content each and every time my phone shuts off.

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I know it’s tough. I know it’s hard. But try putting down your phone today, and just see what happens. You’ll probably realize that life is so much more enjoyable when you actually truly experience it!

Featured photo credit: Johan Larsson via flickr.com

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Justin Stenstrom

Nationally-Acclaimed Life Coach

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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