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This Is What Will Happen When You Start Putting Down Your Phone More

This Is What Will Happen When You Start Putting Down Your Phone More

I have long been interested in the problems associated with excessive smartphone use because we live in a time when our lives are dominated by technology. Smartphones (as well as laptops and tablets) seem to dictate our lives now.

Take a look around in public. Everyone seems to be glued to their smartphones everywhere you look. Many people have forgotten what it feels like to simply be a person and live life in the present.

Back in August 2013, I did an experiment. I turned my smartphone off for one month. That’s right. For one entire month, I was without a smartphone. There was no texting, no phone calls, no mindless internet browsing, no anxiously checking my e-mail every two minutes, and no social media.

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I know what happens when you start putting your smartphone down and I’m happy to share the benefits with you. Here they are:

1. You will initiate small talk on a more consistent basis.

Stand in a line at any place or event with a decent wait time. What do you usually see? You usually see a line of people just standing there mindlessly staring down at their smartphones. They are oblivious to the world around them. They have little awareness of their surroundings. Their only focus is whatever is on that smartphone screen.

This really is a shame because when you think about it, you have to wonder about all the missed opportunities. Who knows what kind of friendships or relationships could be started just by putting your phone away and engaging in simple small talk?

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You will know if you decide to put the phone away and pay attention to your immediate surroundings. You will have no other choice. Without a smartphone, life is boring if you just stand around and don’t talk to people. Without a smartphone to rely upon for ‘entertainment’, you will place evolutionary pressure on yourself to start making small talk with strangers. From there, the possibilities are endless.

2. You will become more observant.

When you allow yourself to be dominated by constant smartphone use, life follows one big pattern. You tend to do the same thing over and over throughout the week. You get up. You go to work. You talk with the same people every day. You go to lunch. You leave work. Maybe you go to the gym or take a class. And then you go to bed and do it all over again. This is reality for many people, especially those who are constantly on their smartphones throughout the day. You don’t really remember the details about your day. You don’t really remember specific people that you come across. It’s all one big blur.

This will change once you start putting your phone down more. Again, you will not be able to rely upon your smartphone as a means of numbing yourself from the rigors of your daily routine. You will be forced to actually look around and gain a deeper understanding of life around you. You will become more observant of people. You will also become more observant of the social situations developing in front of your eyes.

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3. You will give yourself a chance to reset your dopamine levels to “normal”.

It’s very common for people to say that we are “addicted to our smartphones.” But what does this really mean and is this accurate? It’s somewhat true. It’s not so much that we are addicted to our smartphones. In reality, we are addicted to dopamine, the “pleasure chemical” that is released in our brains as a reward mechanism. Simply put, we live in a society where constant access to technology and instant gratification at our fingertips has our collective dopamine levels way out of whack.

Recent research indicates that dopamine causes “seeking behavior.” Our brains are always seeking stimulation- hence, why we are a “click happy generation.” How many times have you found yourself searching on Google or YouTube for something specific only to end up looking at something totally unrelated an hour later. We’ve all been there.

When you make it a habit to put down your phone, you will start to alleviate this extreme seeking behavior. Eliminating the constant clicking, searching, and communicating will enable you to give yourself a chance to reset your dopamine levels to their normal range.

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4. You will relax and be in a good mood more often.

Constant smartphone use throughout the day can take its toll on you. This is especially the case if you make it a long term habit. Constantly looking at a small screen and mindlessly clicking away wears down your brain. Again, this relates back to abnormal stimulation and dopamine release. This habit, that so many of us engage in, adds another element of stress to our lives that is simply unnecessary.

The world is stressful enough. People have jobs. People have personal lives. Stress is inevitable. There is no reason to add to it. Yet, this is exactly what many of us unknowingly do when we do something like check our e-mail inbox ten times just on the elevator ride up to the office.

When you eliminate, or at least drastically cut down on this habit, you give yourself a chance to relax. Suddenly, life doesn’t seem to be moving so fast. There is time to fully enjoy something as simple as going to the grocery store. When you are able to put your phone down and relax, you will give yourself the opportunity to be in a good mood.

Featured photo credit: Pabak Sarkar via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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