New Delhi: With our mobile phones continuously tugging at our attention, being fully present with friends and family during the holidays can prove challenging, but there are things you can do to make it easier.
According to research by Adrian Ward, an assistant professor at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, the urge to constantly check your phone is actually your brain’s way of solving a significant problem.
“Smartphones are basically always calling your name, and the closer the phone is to you, the more powerful that is,” says Ward. “If your phone is in sight right in front of you, it’s saying ‘Hey, pay attention to me!’ Even if you didn’t receive a text message or notification, the phone itself represents all the stuff you want to pay attention to. It’s putting you in a state of conflict.”
Here, Ward shares some tips on how we can be smarter with our smartphones this holiday season:
One thing at a time
You can’t pay attention to two things at once. Rather, your brain is switching back and forth between two things, causing you to never be fully present in either task. Avoid the myth of multitasking and carve out time to focus on one task at a time.
Ditch the pictures
Catching up with friends and family leads to special moments you all want to capture and share, but taking pictures to share on social media can actually take you out of experiences completely. Reconsider the need for constant picture taking and experience the moment instead.
Out of sight, out of mind
Research shows that the mere presence of your smartphone reduces cognitive capacity, which means having your phone out during holiday gatherings can undermine the enjoyment you get during face to face interactions. Place your phone out of sight to help you better engage.
If you decide to put your phone away cold turkey, research shows that your heart rate goes up and your mind starts to wander. It’s important to acknowledge that wanting to use your phone while being with loved ones doesn’t make you a bad person or signify that you don’t care. We are just accustomed to always having our phones around, so reversing this instinct takes time and practice.