Breaking up with my Phone

by belinda

I’ve just listened to a podcast that has inspired me very much. I’m not sure why I don’t listen to podcasts as a rule, maybe I just haven’t found the right ones? It was an interview by Ella Mills, the creator of the Deliciously Ella recipe books, where she chats to renowned science journalist Catherine Price, and it’s called ‘How to Break Up With Your Phone and Have More Fun’.

Much has been written about the addictive nature of social media and technology, but it was the little details that were still surprising to me. For example, did you know that the colour of the notifications/hearts/likes etc you get on Instagram is that specific colour of red because it gives your brain a quick jolt of dopamine that both stimulates your mind but also quickly becomes addictive?

These apps are purposefully designed to be this way, says Catherine, built in a very similar way to slot machines in a casino, so the first thing to take note of, is not to blame yourself too much for your addiction to your phone. We’re only human after all, living in tumultuous times, so a little self compassion (instead of blame) is where you should start.

We all use our phones differently, but the addictive nature of them is due to many psychological factors. Maybe it’s novelty, that feeling of wanting to see something new, whether it’s an email in your inbox, or a new Like on your post, or a piece of news. Or it could be affirmation, a big one for me (and many of us I think), or connection, something we’ve all desperately needed during this pandemic (especially when you’ve moved countries, and find yourself more isolated than usual).

But I’ve noticed a general sea change happening among my friends lately (and this is probably due to our age and life stage), where people are opting out of social media, deliberately extracting themselves as much from technology as is possible, or at least using it in a much more conscious way. I think it’s also to do with the onslaught of bad news over the past couple of years – we just can’t handle this constant stream of it in our lives any more. We’re not coping and we are tired.

I’ve always enjoyed Instagram, from when I first started sharing stories in my mommy blogger days back in 2011. It’s been a creative outlet for me, and extremely useful for my work, not only as a promotional tool, but also for research, for connecting with experts and interesting people. But of course that’s not the only way I use it, and lately I’ve found that I’ve been caught up in mindless scrolling, and I’ve realised that it no longer energises me, but rather it depletes me.

I’m a writer, a creator of content, but it’s been years of sharing my everyday thoughts through this medium, and it feels like this season of my life has now passed. Now I want to pour my creative energy into things that are more tangible, projects that last, instead of creating constant snippets of content which then float off into the ether. It feels a bit like throwing fistfuls of my energy right up into the air, where they are gathered as insubstantial pieces of confetti and taken away by the wind.

Social media can be useful though, otherwise it can be difficult to keep up with what my friends around the world are doing. And I’ll definitely use it still, to share my writing projects, or be inspired by others, but I’m done with the constant checking. I suppose it’s more of a repositioning, a change in emphasis, rather than a goodbye. It just feels like if we carry on doing the same things each day, we’re never going to achieve a new result.

What I have noticed over the past 10 days is that because I’ve been doing less scrolling, I’ve had more free moments in which to phone a friend, or send a personal message to those people I care about. I wonder what other good things will happen over the coming days?

I’ll still be posting my writing over here on my blog, so do subscribe on the right hand side of the home page if you’d like to be notified when I publish a new one.

Sending love, hope you’re coping okay in this crazy world.


P.S. Thanks to Miss Moss for sharing this podcast originally.


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