People are on the right track.

Turning off notifications is a good idea as a way to avoid constant reminders that someone, somewhere, has said something that may require our attention and remove it from the people who are in front of us.

Limiting use of phones at dinner is another simple way to take a small break from social media availability and focus on the people you are with in real life.

This can also be a way to practice limiting use at other times, as you become more used to having your phone turned off or in another room.

Here are some additional strategies that can work:

•Go Offline at Certain Times of Day: If you create windows when you are not available (like dinnertime, after a certain time of night, or even every other hour), you begin to teach yourself how to limit your availability. You also teach others not to expect you to be constantly available. This small boundary may make it easier to disconnect at other times and in other ways.

•Become Comfortable with "Sleep Mode": Putting your phone on "sleep mode" and only checking it once an hour is a good way to keep notifications functional but silent, so you can choose when to let them interrupt your day. This puts you in greater control.

•Ask People to Call You On It: Enlist help by announcing that you’d like to check your phone less when you are with people. You can even make a pact with others that none of you will be on your phones when you are together, as in "olden times" (like 2005). This can help you to stay connected with those you’re with, and make it into a game of sorts, rather than something you try to do alone.

•Delete Your Apps: If you delete social media apps on your phone, you’ll be forced to only use them when you are at your computer or tablet. This makes it more challenging to maintain a mindless habit of checking your phone, but it doesn’t cut you off entirely. The idea is to make yourself think about it more, and to make social media less available—but not completely inaccessible.

•Try Meditation: Because checking your phone can be such an insidious habit, it’s easy to do it without thinking. Getting into a new habit like meditation can help you to become more conscious of the present moment, the here and now. That can also help you to get into the practice of being here, now, rather than wondering who else is saying something online. Practice being fully present and it will become easier to keep your phone in your pocket.

by Rituparna Malini at


The Smartphone addiction has got all hooked. With millions of apps catering to your different needs, smileys, emoticons and memes instead of relying on words to express what you feel and getting to know the whole world at one tap, you feel severely addicted to your Smartphone. But, is that a healthy sign? On introspection, you will probably find that you spend more time over the virtual domain through the social networking sites rather than having a heart-to-heart with your family and friends.

Of late, smartphones are being held responsible for causing depression as a result of increased isolation.

Let’s find out whether the theory is well propounded or not.

1. One of the major signs of depression is lack of adequate sleep. Sticking to your smartphone till the wee hours of the morning affects your level of concentration, resulting in anxiety and a bad temper.

2. When you spend a lot of time on the gadgets, you slowly compromise on your thinking capacity. You take everything internet serves you as granted without clarifying. With every piece of information available on the internet, there is nothing left for you to imagine or create.

3. Addiction to social networking sites is taking away all your creative potentials; and on one fine day, when you discover this, you might feel increasingly disillusioned, resulting in depression.

4. One of the worst causes of depression is cyber bullying. The virtual world might welcome you with all kinds of threats and humiliation and this happens majorly on the social networking sites. As a result, you feel your self-confidence is at stake, resulting in severely low self-esteem and subsequent depression.

5. Abandoning your smartphone completely is utopian, because they serve needful purposes as well. But, what you can do is limit the time you spend on the device and replace it with something creative. Otherwise, it might not be too late before you start silently sliding into depression.

by Dr. Vasavi Samyukta Sunki, Psychologist

Originally at

Modern conveniences like smartphones and the internet provide us with access to more information than we could ever hope to remember. The problem is, we often fail to differentiate between the important information we ought to keep in our memory and the less-important data that’s better stored elsewhere. As a result we become too dependent on our devices and other modern conveniences. Here’s how to break the cycle and develop a healthy amount of self-reliance.
We think in all sorts of problematic ways. Even though we often enjoy tackling challenges and the feeling of accomplishment they provide, when presented with the option to not do the work we tend to take it. When we can have the fruits of our labor without the actual labor, we’re basically presented with an offer we can’t refuse. The problem lies in our overuse of what social psychologist Daniel Wegner calls transactive memory, or a memory that’s essentially a reference to information in your phone, on the internet, in another person, or practically anywhere that isn’t in your own head. When you need a phone number that’s stored as a transactive memory, your memory isn’t the actual number but rather something along the lines of “iPhone Contacts app.” You may not remember the information itself, but you’ll know exactly where to find it.
How to Re-program Your Memory to Become More Self-ReliantThis is extremely useful when you want to recall data that isn’t particularly important in your day-to-day life and isn’t a skill you need to practice. I’m by no means arguing that transactive memory is intrinsically badit’s the perfect route to accessing plenty of information. Because transactive memory is such an attractive option, however, we often use it to store data that is very important even when that information really belongs in our heads rather than our phones. This leaves us checking our phones, phoning a friend, or searching the internet for an answer we should be able to recall in a matter of seconds. Basically, too much convenience can make me, you, or anyone else a lazy idiot. Reprogramming your brain to pass up the easy way in favor of the hard and even enjoy it however, is actually very easy. All you have to do is be aware of what’s important, store that information in your own head, and you’ll be well on your way to self-reliance. Here’s what you need to do to make that happen.

Actively Learn from Your Friends

When you ask friends for help, ask them to teach you instead of doing the work for you. Perhaps you’re like me and you’re terrible at assembling furniture. Naturally you’d call a friend to help you out. What you’re really doing in this scenario is getting them to do the hard work for you that you don’t do as well. They take control of the situation and you assist where you can. As a result, all the skills they possess that you don’t and should remain a part of them and not a part of you. You may have some nicely assembled furniture, but next time you need help and they’re not available you won’t be able to get the job done as well. If you wanted to learn guitar and a friend knew how, you wouldn’t ask them to come over and handle the frets while you strum. The same goes for practical skills like furniture assembly. Pay attention to when you ask people for help, and ask them how they’re doing something when they’re doing it well. Regardless of whether your friends are generally dumb or extremely brilliant, they all have useful skills you can pick up. Doing the work together is a lot more fun, but learning from them allows you to handle situations better when their help is not an option.

Memorize Your Speed Dial

Why? Because, presumably, you call them frequently. Your smartphone may be attached to you like a fancy, multi-touch tumor, but in reality you’re not going to have it with you all of the time. You may need to make a call when your phone is dead, forgotten in the car, or out for repairs. If those numbers are so important, you should take the time to remember them so you don’t have to always rely on technology.

Relinquish your GPS

When you get driving/walking/public transit directions on the computer or your smartphone, memorize them and only refer to them when necessary. If you have a GPS device, turn it off. If you’re paying attention to the GPS rather than paying attention to what each direction actually looks like, you’re not going to learn where you’re going. It takes very little time to read through a set of directions, memorize each turn, and then recall them as needed. This process uses the informationin this case, driving directionsin repetitive but slightly varied ways. This kind of repetition can help you create a “muscle” memory very quickly. Next time you have to take the same routesuch as on your return tripyou probably won’t have to consult your directions because you took a few minutes to learn where you were going. This not only makes for safer driving, but teaches you to be self-reliant when you need to figure out how to get somewhere. Additionally, memorizing directions doesn’t only result in the knowledge of one route, butwith persistenceamounts to the ability to figure how to get to places you haven’t been before. Sure, you can always rely on Google Maps or MapQuest to figure out how to reach your destination, but life is easier when that’s an option and not a necessity.

Write to Remember

When you come across useful information, write it down on paper. Why? The physical act of writing can actually improve your ability to learn, but doing so is also a means of acknowledging that what you’re writing is something important. Instead of creating a transactive memory, you’re creating a real memory that you can access and rely on when needed. The goal is to identify information that’s worth keeping and taking the necessary action to make it readily available in your brain. If it’s not that important a transactive memory is adequate, but when you come across information that really matters to you it’s worth the effort to make room for it in your permanent memory.

Ultimately it all comes down to paying attention and acknowledging the littleyet importantthings that occur outside of your head. It’s very easy to ignore what happens around you and simply defer to your transactive memory as a matter of convenience, but hopefully these few methods will help you avoid that problem. While you can’t permanently keep all the information you want in your brain, you can learn to tell the difference and act accordingly. When you’re particularly good at that, you can consider yourself truly self-reliant.

Originally at

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