As a Remedial massage therapist I've recently seen how mobile phones and social media are seriously effecting our lives.
A few days ago I was treating a middle aged woman for a Chiropractor I work with. 15min into her massage her phone messages started to sound. Messages continued to come through and I couldn't quite place where her phone was. As the massage continued the patient turned onto her back for more treatment. This is when I realized it was in her hands. "I'd better check these messages." she told me. As I worked the front of her legs, she typed away to messages on her phone receiving and responding to more as the time passed.
There was a moment during the massage, she tensed, grasping her mobile as she stopped typing. I sensed my pressure was a little to firm, eased off and asked her to breath through the work I was doing on her legs. She took a short shallow breath in and out and returned to her phone typing away.
This is not the only example. Ive experienced patients talking on their phone whilst I take them through to rooms for treatment, answering phone calls, text messages and emails during their massage. I once spoke with a client about the frequent use of his phone. He explained to me that it was the nature of is industry and he 'needed' to be on his emailed ALL day.
I'm always torn in this situation on, about whether I should speak up to these patients. Suggesting it would be better for them to turn there phones off during their treatment. More often than not I do. Yet, these patients are not mine and are ultimately coming to see the Chiropractor. If at the very least we could be mindful of where were are an know that the noise of our phone could be disrupting the person in the room next door.
All you have to do is look around you to see how our social behaviors are changing because of mobile phones. Most peoples mobile devices are never far out of their reach. Were using them to take photos, check emails, snapchat stories, check the weather, watch videos, go shopping and even working. The list goes on. Mobile phones are becoming an extension of ourselves.
Ive recently heard of statistics stating the average time we spend on our mobile phone is 2-3 hours per day. This figure is increasing, expected to rise by 1 hour next year. We all know that social media plays a giant factor in this. In 2015 Australia's on social media
- 45% of users check their account early in the morning
- 24% of users check their account more than 5 times a day
- 41% of users check their accounts before going to sleep*
Mobile users are 'checking' their phones on average, 17 times a day. Mobile phone apps have internal and external triggers. Notifications are an example of internal triggers. Were alerted that we have 11 likes on our Instagram post, internally this gives us a reward, someone likes what we do. Endorphin's released in our brain and we feel good about our-self. This creates a cycle that hooks us in eventually becoming addicted to that app. Even if were not receiving notifications, we'll want to jump on later to 'check' our accounts.
People are using mobiles as and excuse not to engage. I'm sure you've see a bunch of people 'alone together.' In a cafe, sitting together yet all on their phones. Rather than being present and enjoying the company an opportunity to socialize with one another.
There have been studies showing the more time you spend on social media the more depressed you are. Constant usage is effecting mental health and anxiety. How? People get absorbed in an 'envy spiral' they are constantly comparing their lives to their friends and followers. In most cases this is a curated snapshot perhaps 5% reality of their actual life.
If your not making a conscious choice to control your phone, your phone will control you. Our notifications will alert us at any time of the day triggering us to pick up our phone and check whats going on. Creating a scene of urgency or importance which can lead to anxiety. Adding to the every growing 'busyness' of our life.
Signs you might be hooked to your phone
- Your texting while your driving or at the stop light.
- You spend more thank 1.5 hours a day on social media.
- You pick up your phone within 5min of waking up.
- You interrupt moments to take photos of your life.
- Your sending 500+ messages a month.
How can you find a balance between life and technology and become more mindful and aware of your phone usage? Here are some tips to create positive habits around how you use your phone.
- Turn your phone to airplane mode one hour before you go to bed. Take it off airplane mode and hour after you've woken up.
- Turn off all notifications.
- Go one day without taking a photo.
- Delete the app that is your biggest time sucker for a day, the one you use the most
- Don't use your mobile phone when your in the presence of other people.
- Leave your phone at home for a day.
Were going down a slippery slop if we cant unhook from our phones and devices whilst having a massage. Regardless of if its for relaxation or remedial purposes. Take an honest look at how your using your mobile phone and I challenge you to implement the tips noted above.
*Australian Communications Use statistics 2015