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Putting Your Phone Away For More Happiness

If we strip away judgments of whether we “should” or “shouldn’t” be on our phones, it can make each moment seem more enjoyable.

Have you ever noticed someone sitting alone at a restaurant? Often, when we see people sitting alone, especially in public spaces, they’ll be holding their phones. Maybe they’re scrolling, watching a video, or listening to something. We get it. Whether catching up on email, scrolling Facebook, or watching YouTube videos, they can be a means to seemingly enhance the moment. We've all had experiences where we're doing something that appears relatively mundane, just like sitting quietly and having a meal.

Every now and again, we might notice someone who stands out — someone who’s not on their phone, not reading a book, or doing anything else. They’re simply there, being present.

When we notice this, we can begin to wonder about the logic to put your phone away in those moments. If we strip away judgments of whether we “should” or “shouldn’t" be on our phones, it can make each moment seem more enjoyable.

In life’s seemingly mundane moments, we turn to our phones for entertainment.

Here are three reasons why putting your phone away in those moments can help you feel a little calmer and happier.

Reason 1: We have the opportunity to cultivate a mind that’s a little less chaotic and a bit more at peace.

Often what’s happening in those moments where you're sitting in a coffee shop, there's going to be an instinct to fill that time with some increased sense of pleasure. We feel that conditioning of the mind that rapidly wants to fill that gap to entertain itself. It’s a cycle we can easily reinforce by playing it out in a single second. When your mind feels that desire to fill the gap and gets that desire met, the desire can feel stronger in the future.

Next time this happens, see if you can relax into that void where we feel a pull to be entertained. When you pause and notice that tension, you’re actually starting to recondition the mind in relation to that desire. And then subsequently, in the future, that desire has less of a grip on you and creates less tension within you — ultimately leading to a greater sense of peace in the mind.

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Reason 2: We have an opportunity to deepen our concentration.

Concentration is becoming a bit of a lost art right now. There are many ways we can distract ourselves. Concentration only develops through a series of sustained moments of awareness, essentially reducing moments of being unpleasant. It’s not only useful for productivity at work and getting things done, but it can produce deep tranquillity.

Practicing the art of concentration will inevitably lead to subsequent moments of focus. You'll be more inclined to practice that way of relating to your daily tasks if you practice during these simple moments where you’re tempted to pull out your phone.

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Reason 3: Practice staying tuned to the subtle pleasure of simplicity.

Filling our seemingly mundane moments with entertainment can be a slippery slope. The phone is more entertaining than a salad — we can't deny that. But what happens when we fuel that initial impulse? The subtle pleasures that might come with the simplicity of whatever we’re doing, such as eating a meal, become seemingly less compelling. We may not notice the sight, taste, and quality of the food.

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We have the opportunity to press pause on the extra excitement and be still.

Set an intention for your next cup of coffee or tea and see if you can be with the subtle joys. Take a sip, and then take a breath. While being still, let the taste settle in your mouth. And then, try it again.

As you practice this, you’re cultivating a resilient mind — one that's a little less busy and more at peace.

We hope this inspires you to put down the phone for a moment, and see how you experience life, hands-free, and have fun exploring this idea. It’s all part of the journey of practicing being human.

Beyond the concept of here and now, how much power do you need? To go anywhere else you need power, but to be here what do you need?


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