10 things to do instead of scrolling through your smart phone
The other day I was spending time with a friend, who I hadn’t seen in over one year. He talked of how he wanted to take a break from social media and how useless the information was that he looked at online. But much of the time we were together, he scrolled. I tried to redirect him, but smart phones are addicting. When he was at the airport to return home, he messaged me saying “you bring me so much joy.” As he said this, I was curious because he wasn’t present much of the time we were together. So for him, and you I created this list of 10 things to do instead of scrolling through you smart phone.
1. Read a book. How many books do you read a year? The average American reads 12 books per year, according to one statistic https://bookriot.com/how-many-books-does-the-average-person-read/
When was the last time you read a book? Although I love to binge through books through audio and e- books, there is nothing like tangibly reading a book in your hands. It doesn’t matter if it’s a book you read before or the latest book on the NY Times Bestseller. Allow yourself the pleasure of reading.
2. Journal-Take a moment to write down how you are feeling. Maybe you have a daily writing practice, or you don’t. Try capturing your emotions, dreams, goals, or daily occurrences versus numbing yourself with excess info.
3. Take a walk- Step outside your home, without your phone and walk. It’s easy when we are walking to dim down the scenery by looking at your screen, listening to music or a podcast, or muttering your to dos aloud. But be present with each step, note what you notice. Use all your five senses on this walk.
4. Let yourself be bored- We are always entertained these days, as we can search endless things online, any movie is at our disposal, or we can watch limitless things on youtube. But let yourself be bored. I was reading a creativity book, called Big Magic by Liz Gilbert. She shares the importance of being bored is on our creativity. We need down time to allow a new idea to emerge. It does not matter if you are a creative or not. Find joy in boredom.
5. Listen to a favorite album- Before music was available for digital downloads, artists and their producers worked meticulously in regards to the order one would experience their songs on an album. There was a sequence to them, a progression. Now we seem to only know the hits, but let yourself listen to the full album of an artist and feel what they have intended to share with you.
6. Call a friend- It’s easier to message a response or send a voice memo than to call a friend. To actually schedule a time when both of you are free and present may be even more rare. But take this time, see what arises when you are fully there, not distracted by other worldly things.
7. Play a board game or tangible playing cards. If you are alone, this includes solitaire. Playing board games or card games has this sense of nostalgia to it. Simultaneously it brings out a fun competitive side. Our attention swifts diversions from onscreen notifications to real time human interaction.
8. Daydream- Allow yourself to daydream without automatically seeking out answers online on how to make this a reality. Don’t search for the next date on an app, but let yourself wonder. Don’t look up flight itineraries or excursions for a trip you are wanting to make a reality. Let your mind transport you there without a screen.
9. Doodle- When is the last time we doodled? Draw without knowing what the end result will be. Let the pen flow, and for extra credit, use your non-dominant hand.
10. Create something- If you had free moments to spare, where you weren’t scrolling on your phone or device, what could you create? Options are boundless: poetry, songs, artwork, vision boards, knitted scarf, lego masterpiece.
How To Stop Meaningless Scrolling
There are numerous other options of what to do instead of scrolling. We check our phone on average anywhere between 150-344 times per day. We all know it’s addictive, but we can control it versus it controlling us. Our dependence of technology can rob us from the time we have with friends and family members, in real life (like it did with my friend). Expand who you are as a being, and broaden your world outside of a screen.
For more on why taking a digital detox is beneficial, check out this blog piece https://amodernpilgrimage.com/why-taking-a-digital-detox-is-a-good-idea/ .