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Well Wednesdays: S.P.S.

Updated: Mar 14

There is a silent epidemic spreading among us. It began in the early part of this century and has grown leaps and bounds over the last decade and a half. It is responsible for more car accidents, breakups, insomnia, and metabolic conditions than any other virus on the planet. You probably suffer from it yourself.

S.P.S., or Smartphone Syndrome, is a real and emerging threat to our species. If left unchecked we can anticipate an overall drop in human cognitive and social abilities. Furthermore, we can expect a majority of our economic resources to end up in the hands of giant corporations and foreign nationals. Wait, that is already happening

I am only mildly joking here. There is ample evidence that our attention spans have suffered greatly from the introduction of the smartphone. Most people I know (including myself) are lucky to go longer than two minutes without feeling the itch to check their phones. Apple watches have decreased this interval even further. Merely having your smartphone in the room with you has been proven to reduce IQ, and sleeping next to one is a recipe for sleep issues.

I have been out to dinner and seen whole groups of people sitting together on their phones--necks crooked, eyes focused, thumbs busy. Nowadays, this is more of the norm than the exception, and while smartphones are not intrinsically bad the overuse of them certainly has unintended consequences.

If the default is to plug into the Matrix, then we need to do the opposite in order to offset the pull. Here are a few strategies that I personally use:

-Turn off notifications on all apps, including texts

-Schedule phone check-ins a few times a day so that you limit compulsive checking

-When out with friends, play the game that the first person to check their phone without permission buys the meal

-For God's sake don't drive or walk while using your phone

Remember to "turn off (the phone), tune in (to other people and nature), drop out (of the cycle of addiction)." Thank you, Tim Leary, for the inspiration on that one. Best of luck to everyone.

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