The Difficulty of Practicing Solitude in the Technological Era

When you wake up in the morning, what’s the first thing that you do?

 

Do you pick up a book? Or do you take 10 deep breaths and reflect upon how you’re feeling for the day? Or maybe even a quick 5 minute meditation before class?

 

Odds are, most people’s answers would be that they pick up their phones. And the culture we live in perpetuates and influences this behavior. The same minute that you wake up, you also become plugged in. This could be habitual, or due to a fear of missing out. You might feel that itching, addicting need to catch up on the posts you’ve missed in the past 8 hours.

 

When we do this, we alter the state of our brains from the second we look at our phones. We don’t give our minds a break from virtual reality because we’re focused on trivial issues online, and physically, this puts stress on our brain. Where did the Kardashians just fly to? Where is everyone going for spring break? Fit Tea will make you look like this! Though you may be alone scrolling through Instagram and Twitter, you are never in solitude because all of this input keeps your mind running. What is more important to you, your peace of mind or following the life of those who are showing their best face online?

 

Studies have been done to prove that our smartphones lead to imbalances in our brain, increasing stress hormones and leading to elevated levels on anxiety.

 

If we had more time with our phones on airplane mode, this could lead to evolving of the self. If you dedicate time to putting your phone down on airplane mode for just one hour a day, you could learn that you love to read, or paint, or meditate. Let your brain relax and unplug itself. We learn the most about ourselves when we spend time alone

 

Don’t let your only connection in life be to these small screens! This is a reminder to take time out of your day to be connected to nature. The greenery of the flowers that are budding as we head into spring, the birds flying in formation above your head, the smell of the air in the morning, or the way the sky looks as the sun begins to go down.