The time I arrived home one morning, following a night of getting lost in an epic tour of Toronto with a friend I had just met (in all fairness, I did forewarn her of my direction impairment), attending a business premier, eating copious amounts of delicious plant-based food (and a couple of squares of Giddy Yoyo dark chocolate), going to one of my favourite places (I know where you’ve guessed but it was, in fact, not the beach this time); the airport, and sharing a vegan burrito & very cozy ride home with a nomadic traveler & six-foot tall surfboard.
So naturally, the first thing I wanted to do was to snuggle into bed to check my Instagram, lurk his surf & travel photos (videography being what he does for a living) and “follow” the freedom project, a not-for-profit organization of which I’d just gabbed about with the founder and CEO over cauliflower & beet salads.
That, however, proved more difficult with the loss of my wi-fi reception, and what good is a phone without Internet and iMsg?? Now, I wasn’t particularly disgruntled on the matter until I found out our wi-fi was working, it was my phone that wasn’t and a quick call to Telus unveiled their cynical plan to ruin my lurking escapades : their system was down.
Stranded without a phone, gasping for reception, clinging desperately to my every last hope of vicarious traveling through mini photos on an instant feed, I gave in, put my cell down and vowed to spend the remainder of the day without it.
Even cell phones have their limits and so should you! While your cell may disconnect you from web surfing now and again, life may connect you with a new friend and surfer. While your cell phone may lose service for texting, life gives you the service of personable phone calling. And though your phone may, at some point, limit you from fixating on a screen, life will have you transfixed on the world around you. We would all do well to stick limits on our phones before they teach us this lesson on their own merit and these are 5 Holistic perks that emerged from being lost in textlation:
Perk #1: Mastering the art of communication beyond the 7%
- What happened when I solemnly swore to stay off my phone? I actually had to call people! Now I for one, love talking on the phone, I adore it, and this was the perfect excuse. As social beings, we need to actually hear people’s intonations and their “LOLs.” Laughter, after all, is intoxicating and stimulates our feel good endorphins when we hear it in person. Reading the abbreviation “LOL” doesn’t do it justice. In fact, through our personal lives, social lives, right down to our business lives, communication is everything, but a measly 7% of communication comes through the content of the message. What accounts for the remaining 93%? UCLA professor AlbertMehrabian found that 58% of communication is through body language, and 35% through vocal tone, pitch, and emphasis.
- Prescription For Wellness; when discussing important news or attempting to resolve an issue, refrain from the temptation to do so over text message. Calling is an upgrade but to reap the benefits of the 58% body language communication, you want to do so in person.
Stranded on a dessert island
- A little effect I like to call: lost in textlation: no matter what you type or how strategically you type it, the true intention (sarcasm, joking, sweet vs flirty, serious..) will never translate in the exact same way to the receiving end (and this is even before considering an accidental autocorrect-desert is a lot less appetizing than dessert). The other person is bound to read it differently and this just leads to crossed eyes and hair pulling, neither of which are considered healthy practises.
Free to a good roam
- Money, yes. I know the struggle all too well of roaming charges when we grace the border while touring Niagara Falls. My phone, being the adventurous type, loves the thrill of pretending it is in the USA and as a consequence, charges me in the long run. Of course, I weasel my honest way out of roaming fees and so should you! But the roaming I’m referring to here is the constant checking of your cellular device. PEW Research Center found that 67% of cell users check their phone for messages, alerts, and calls even when their phone isn’t ringing or vibrating. Phones offer a fantastic modality for distraction and can drain our days of motivation and promote procrastination.
- Putting my phone down forced me to not look at a tiny screen all day. Without constantly checking my phone and getting aimlessly lost in Instagram “liking” and “foodporn” drooling, I found myself having more time and therefore, being far more productive and active! And an additional perk: there are problems that set in with dry eyes simply because people become transfixed on screens and withhold the autonomic impulse to blink! So I had happy, glossy eyes too 😉
- Prescription for wellness;
- Want to kick-start an empowered, energized and productive day? Disconnect from your phone, step outside, create your day’s game plan, read, meditate and go about your morning unplugged for 1 hour first thing each morning!
Backspace the aches and pains
- Dry eyes? How about the painful cell phone hunch? We were born with opposable thumbs and with this came our natural stature to walk upright on two legs. And though those nimble thumbs have come in handy for navigating miniature keyboards, they’ve also provoked a real pain the back. The hunch is the new physical condition evocative of the ever downward tilt of the neck and shoulders from the constant use of our phones. On average we spend 2-4 hours daily in this unnatural angle according to CBS news which also suggests that good posture reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol to help you become more at peace. And speaking of a piece of zen…
Unlimited post-phone presence plans
- Yes, presence. When disconnecting with the phone, we connect more to ourselves. There is less comparison to the glorious moments of people’s lives (the only ones we really post after all) and more time to ground and center your thoughts. You become more in tune with your body, your thoughts and emotions. Cellular devices can become coping mechanisms and pretty poor ones at that. Ever been bored or sad and looked through copious amounts of fitness and travel photos posted and felt the comparison creep in?
- When we disconnect our phones, it forces us to look up and connect to our surroundings and the people around us. In our fast paced technological world, time, energy and awareness are three of the greatest things we could gift another human being with and can create a lasting impact. To have genuine, human, in person interactions where facial expressions come from a face and not an emoji and hearts are felt, not typed ❤
Instead of living vicariously through the adventures of my new friend from her trip to Guatemala or surfing photos of my back seat burrito buddy, I dreamt of my own travels there and made a game plan on how to do it.
And so I leave you with this: a suggestion for this week’s Wellness Weekly Challenge: to one day (or at least half a day) a week, find yourself in a total technology detox. This includes computers, cell phones, TVs, etc. To disconnect to pigmented images on a screen and connect authentically to yourself, to the incredible people you’re with and to the animated and unemoji’d world around you.
Tuning off to tune in for tonight’s family dinner of wild caught cod,