Friday August 12, 2016

I went to a BBQ last weekend and consciously left my phone at home. My aim was to be less distracted, more present, and to engage wholly in interacting with my friends. That's exactly what happened. I didn't need to take 17 selfies at varying angles to find the perfect shot to post on social media to confirm to everyone what a great time I was having. I just had a great time.

When I got home, over six hours later and quite under the influence of a marvellously mixed Snowball (in summer, how very controversial!) the world had not imploded; I had not missed numerous urgent calls. In fact I'd missed none. I had one message, which was nice, but not immediately requiring attention.

So why do we feel the need to check our phones every 5 minutes? Why can't we wholeheartedly engage with whatever we're doing without this constant distraction? What do we think we are actually missing out on?

Do we really need to know what Sharon had for lunch today, or what Kevin thinks of his best friends mum (we really don't Kevin). Why are we so desperate to know if someone has liked our heavily filtered photo, or commented on our witty status? What are we craving here?

I'm not going to give an answer to any of those questions by the way, but I do welcome discussion. I think its an interesting observation of interaction and responses in a time where we are quite literally bombarded with information.

My concern, and why I decided to do something about it, is that we are spending so much of our lives focussed entirely on a screen in the palm of our hands, that we are oblivious to what is actually going on around us. I don't mean the wider world and the atrocities currently raging within it – it's sadly very hard to avoid this. I mean the day to day things. Other people, face to face exchanges, real conversations. Music, books, art. Nature, beauty, colours, smells. Walking, running, breathing in fresh air. Peace and tranquillity. All the things in fact that our Moodscope community knows all too well are inherent to our overall wellbeing.

My request to you all today then is this. Please put down your phones for an hour today. Do something that you love. Be there in the moment without distraction. Enjoy it. Switch off. Download.

A Moodscope member.

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