put down phone body brain alliance

Put Down Your Phone (Staying Present)

If you feel that using your phone or scrolling on social media is getting in the way of being the happy and present person that you’d like to be… 
Then stick around because you’re going to learn some tips to work through that.
Prefer to learn on video? watch here:

Hi, my name is Jimena Ramirez and I’m a behavior change coach. I’m also the director of coaching and program strategy here at Body Brain Alliance

One of the qualities that our clients choose the most to describe their best selves or their future selves is being present… 

And one of the barriers they can usually identify the most is phone usage. 

Now, there are many reasons for this… 

The first being, it’s fun! It’s easy to get sucked into getting endless entertainment with your phone. You may even avoid tasks that would otherwise feel like a chore or that you’re not ready to take on. 


When using our phone is getting in the way of being more present, this realization often comes with a lot of self-judgment…

Self-judgment will not help you move away from that behavior. 


So the first thing that we want to do here is understand that we’re human beings and all our brain is trying to do is protect us from certain emotions and feelings. It’s doing so in the way that it knows. 

Start with adding neutrality into this. 

We’re not bad people for doing this, or trying to avoid being present in our life. We’re simply turning to strategies that our brain knows and is familiar with. 


This is how you can think about this behavior neutrally and to become a detective and not a judge. 


A good detective asks questions: 

      • When is this behavior hitting harder?

      • When is it harder to get detached from your phone? 

      • When is it really easy to get sucked into scrolling? 

      • What is happening right before you start using your phone? Try to think about describing that, how you’re feeling, how your day went. 

      • Now, what is your phone possibly giving you? 

      • Could that be giving you some control, some entertainment? 

      • Can we start identifying the need that this phone usage is satisfying? 

      • Do you enjoy scrolling? 

    There is no right or wrong answer here. This is something that I’d like you to honestly think about. 


    Now, the last thing that I want you to picture is presence. 


    When you’re thinking about presence, what are you thinking about? What is the vision that you have about being a little more present in your life or with your loved ones?


    How much effort does it entail? 
    How much time? 
    How much attention are you expected to put into being present with yourself or with others?

    Once you go through these prompts and questions, you have super valuable information about why you’re probably turning to using your phone more and how you can use it a bit less. 

    This is where I want to encourage you to think about going back to your definition of presence. 


    How flexible do you think that is? And how much of an impact do you think that is having in seeing presence as something that is of easier access or not? 


    Here’s what I mean by this:

    Your pain might be perceiving that the difficulty of these tasks or the resources that it needs are a barrier to actually being more present. 


    Have you ever got home after a super long day at work and you’re expected to switch this “on” button for presence… But you’re not ready for that. 


    Your brain is telling you that you need to have all the attention, and all the energy… 

    So how are you defining presence for yourself? 

    And is that definition helpful or detrimental to create more presence to lower the entry barrier?


    Now, what would it look like to think about presence in a more flexible way? 


    For example, maybe you’re thinking that to be present with your partner, you need to give your partner your full attention… 


    You need to have super meaningful conversation, but your brain is just not ready for that. You just don’t have the resources for that. 

    So what could be a more flexible way to do that? 

        • Could that be sitting with your partner?

        • Could that be holding hands or cuddling? 

        • Could that be watching some funny videos together?

        • Could that still be a way to create presence? 

      If we’re thinking about hanging out with your kids, maybe you’re thinking…

      “Okay, I need to play with them and read them bedtime stories.”


      What could be another way to create presence? 


      Could it be asking your kid to read the story to you if they’re old enough or asking about their favorite part of the day? 


      Could it be just engaging in playtime in a way that is actually realistic to you at that moment without thinking that there is a perfect way to engage in playtime in presence? 


      Could it be eating in the same place as a family? And notice that I didn’t say eating at the table. This could also be eating while you’re watching tv. 

      That could still be a way to create some presence. 

      These are all ways to see this flexibly enough so that the behavior of being more present becomes more accessible to you with whatever resources you have at that time.


      Another thing to think about here is…


      Can you help yourself transition into being more present?


      As I was telling you before how sometimes we have this expectation that there is going to be a switch where we’re going to be suddenly present. How can we slowly and gradually transition into creating presence? 


      Can this be something that we intentionally create as a routine or as a sequence?


      Can we help ourselves get to that place? 


      Think of this as prep work to be ready for presence or priming yourself to be more present. 


      Maybe this could look like actually giving yourself some downtime where you are setting some boundaries and using your phone. If you said, “I actually enjoy using my phone.” There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing inherently wrong or bad about using your phone. 

      What you’re identifying here is that it is currently getting in the way of creating presence.


      So maybe we can set some boundaries around that. 


      If using your phone is a way to disconnect, can we set a limit to that so that you can then transition into other parts of your life? 


      Can we think of something else?


      Like maybe getting home and taking a hot shower or getting on your PJ’s or maybe you decide to go on a walk. And that can be a way to transition from whatever you were doing before, getting some downtime, some connection with yourself, addressing any needs…


      Then moving on to feeling ready to be present. 


      Maybe it could even be something about actually satisfying your basic needs, like having a snack before you feel ready to engage with others. 

      What do you need to feel ready to be a little more present? (it should be something that you want to do)

      What is one tiny action that can actually help you transition into being present when doing a whole routine is not possible? This is where we want to think flexibly. 


      The last thing here is…


      Do you need to communicate these needs and what you identify with anyone? 

      Maybe your kids, partner, or someone else. 

      This can be a great way to ask for that support in creating space for yourself and showing up as the most present version of yourself. 


      As usual, we want to identify and redirect over and over again… 

      Noticing allows us to choose again without shame and without guilt. 

      If you feel that being on your phone is also a concern because it’s a form of procrastination. So besides not creating enough presence, it is a way to avoid getting into other tasks that you want to do. 


      There are other blogs here on our website that might really help you with this, so I encourage you to look into those.


      Join The Conversation 


      We would love to know if you have any comments or thoughts that you want to share with us. Drop them here under the comment section below. 


      Thank you for reading, see you in the next one!

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      Hi, I'm Karin

      I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.


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