our cell phones are making us sad.

we came across this article today, about some new minimal phones coming out.  I’m so interested in these phones after reading this article.  check it out, because I’m definitely getting the Light Phone 2 if it comes out for Sprint.

here’s what I’ve noticed a lot lately.  our phones are a HUGE contribution to our stress and anxiety, and therefore our constant non-happiness.  it is happening at a very subtle level, without us realizing it.  think about it, we’re being triggered all day every day, every hour, almost every minute, by this device. . .

  • we wake up to it because it’s our alarm.
  • we sort through everything that come thru email and social media since we’ve been sleeping the night before.
  • we go to the bathroom with it.
  • we listen to music with it.
  • it’s in the kitchen with us.
  • it’s in the car seat next to us.
  • we navigate with it.
  • we listen to music with it.
  • we get updates all day from it.
  • we get notifications all day from it.  and even if we don’t click through, it calls us to look at it hundreds of times in a day with these notifications.
  • it’s sitting next to us as we work, and it calls us to look at it hundreds of times, distracting us from getting things done.
  • it’s sitting next to us as we visit with clients and almost always buzzes, beeps, or has a call come in.
  • it’s sitting with us as we visit with dates and loved ones and spouses and partners, interrupting chances for genuine connection.
  • it’s usually the last thing we look at before we go to bed.


and because it’s with us so much, because we use it so much, and look at it so much, we have habituated ourselves to going to our phones when we encounter uncomfortable space:

  • standing in line at the grocery store or bank?  pull out the phone.
  • stopped at a traffic light?  check the phone.
  • on the toilet?  scrolling through phone.
  • on a walk?  on the phone.
  • at the park?  on the phone.
  • at home with nothing to do?  on the phone.
  • laying in bed before falling asleep?  on the phone.


it’s not the phone that’s the problem.  it’s what it is doing to us.  it is habituating us to always looking for something outside of our current experience to take us away.

I’m working on a progression to deal with this.
  logical steps to de-notify ourselves and un-habituate ourselves from this. personally I’ve noticed so much more freedom and happiness by distancing myself from my phone.  but it’s not easy.

here’s what you might want to consider doing now,
as an experiment, and see if you notice more happiness:

  • put your phone in “do not disturb” or “airplane mode” any time you are doing anything that doesn’t require it.  this takes conscious effort, but over time it becomes habitual!  if you’re working, or meeting with someone, or spending time with someone, do this and you will notice getting more work done, and better conversations.  I know what you’re thinking – “but what if someone tries to call me?”  see?!  you asking that question is proof this needs to happen.  what if they do?!  if it’s important they’ll leave a message or shoot you a text.  and you can come back and address them all later.
  • put distance between you and your phone every chance you get.  don’t even get me started on the EMF’s and radiation.  having your phone on you all the time is damaging to health.  but past that, putting your phone away from you minimizes the chance you’ll look at it or pull it out.  when I’m working at my computer, I put my phone a few feet away from me on the shelf.  when I visit with a client, I keep it far away from the desk we are on.  when I’m visiting with someone, I keep it in my backpack.  when I’m at home, I put it on a table and make a conscious effort to leave it there.
  • choose to engage with it when you actually need it.  I’m not saying don’t use it for an alarm, or navigation, or music.  I’m saying use it deliberately, and outside of that, don’t mess with it.  allow yourself to use it for the things its’ good for.  what we want to avoid is mindlessly checking it for no reason.
  • minimize your notifications to the essentials.  this is so powerful!  go into your notifications and only turn on the things you absolutely need.  I only have my calendar (for business appointments) and my phone.  all other notifications are OFF.
  • consciously and deliberately check everything else.  I choose when I check messages.  I choose when I check instagram and Facebook (which btw is not that often anymore, but I do check to support my people :⁠)
  • use notifications as a reminder to be present.  every time you notice a notification that you’ve chosen to activate, use it as a reminder bell to pause and decide if you really need to check it.  you will be amazed at how often you are drawn to it.
  • notice your unconscious urge to check your phone.  the urge comes everywhere, from all directions, all the time.  notice it, and when you notice it, sit with it, celebrate in the noticing, and then CONSCIOUSLY DECIDE whether you want to look at it or not.

that’s all I got for now!

Paul C. Tijerina

Author Paul C. Tijerina

Paul C. Tijerina | BS MFT CPT NLP | Nutritional Therapist & ATAVIST Life Coach

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