I have a love/ hate relationship with my phone. On one hand It goes with me everywhere and provides some really useful services… It regularly saves me from getting lost, helps me stay in close contact with my kids… and everyone else for that matter, entertains me at the bus stop and takes the pictures of beautiful flowers… one of my favourite hobbies.
On the other hand, it goes with me everywhere, sucks my attention away from the present moment, wastes so much of my time, distracts me from what I should be doing, and interrupts conversations. Along with the inundation of negative information and the difficulties that come along with social media use, I can be left feeling pretty anxious and depressed.
Lockdown led to much more spare time for me, and I found myself ‘in’ my phone for hours, and feeling less than good, so I decided to make a conscious effort to use my phone for my own good.
Here are 15 ways your phone can make you happy.
1. Call People.
Obvious, yet so easily overlooked, calling people in person creates a connection deeper than a text or email. It seems to be a dying art… More years ago than I care to remember, phoning friends from our (ahem) land line was how we kept in touch with each other. Hours of time were spent in chat (and we couldn’t wander around, or multitask much ‘cause the cord was attached to the wall!)… and it was fun, uplifting and supportive, and was such a source of happiness for me.
2. Listen to music.
This one is so easy, stick your headphones on and turn the volume up (Here I have to say safely). Doing this with the intention of making yourself feel happier will enhance the effect. Do this during housework, study, work, or during your workout.
3. Take photos.
Photography is a perfect way to focus on what is beautiful and right in the world. Choosing to point the lens of your phone or camera at the beautiful sunset or flower or the face of someone you love literally focuses your attention on the best parts of your day. Challenge yourself to point the camera away from your own face!
4. Look at your photos.
Create an album of your favourite people, places, pets, holidays (or anything you like) and look at them regularly. This will bring a smile to your face, and even help bring more of what you love into your life.
5. Positive notifications.
Use your calendar to set a daily reminder of your positive outcomes. I am amazing, I am brave, I am capable of anything, or even something as simple as I am OK, will pop up as a reminder on your phone whenever you want, as often as you like. I have just started this for myself with ‘I am grateful for the people in my life’, and “I am OK today”. They are beautiful notifications to receive each day. I will be adding more.
6. Apps for happiness.
There are many apps out there devoted to helping with mental wellbeing and happiness. They vary from meditation apps, to happiness prompts and even online counselling.
7. Happy learning.
There are thousands of online courses to choose from. You can learn anything from gardening, yoga, and personal development to mathematics and robotics. Chances are if you’re interested in it, there is an online course for it.
8. Play games.
I am not into gaming at all, but my husband and kids find much joy in playing games. This one comes with a warning… games can be addictive and a complete time suck, and can elicit strong feelings of rage, however when not taken too seriously, and particularly when shared with others, games can be a very fun and happy experience.
9. Listen to a book.
You can’t really beat the feel and smell and experience of opening a new book, as a writer it is one of my favourite experiences. I have however recently signed up to audible, and absolutely love listening to books now. I am definitely consuming more books than I was previously, as I can listen whilst taking a walk, or doing chores, and I’m definitely less likely to fall asleep!
10. Be social.
Use your social media and messaging apps to have actual conversations with people you know. We have a family group to share videos and photos of the kids, and I am also a part of some smaller friends groups to share banter and news. It keeps our chat and photos private, and makes our conversations more meaningful.
11. Share the love.
Send a kind email, a fun or funny gif or just a generally uplifting message to a friend or colleague. Doing this has been shown to have a measurable positive impact on our happiness, as it qualifies as an act of kindness.
12. Get creative.
Make your own art, music, videos, games, memes, or write and illustrate your own story book. Again, there are so many apps and courses and software platforms to enable the creative process in whatever field of interest you have. You can create graphic design projects in apps like Canva, animation videos in platforms like animaker, make and edit your own live videos, record your voice and music in recording software and even write and publish your own book for free in kindle direct publishing. The sky is literally the limit.
13. Phone fit.
Your phone tracks your activity anyway, so use this to your advantage and compete against yourself to do more steps than yesterday. There are also plenty of fitness apps like couch to 10k, and online P.T, yoga and pilates.
Go geocaching. If you’ve never heard of geocaching, look it up! It’s a really fun activity that literally takes you on adventures looking for treasure. People hide little boxes of treasure around the world, and record the coordinates on the website. You can then look up the caches in your area and go searching. Some geocaches have little treasures… you can take one if you have something to replace it with… and some just have some paper to record the finders. There are various apps available and the website has a free and premium memberships.
15. And don’t forget…
Put it down once in a while too. In 7 tips to staying happy on social media I talk about how important it is to put your phone down and spend time in the present moment engaging with the people you’re with.