I have a phone problem. I check it in any lull in conversation. If there are no notifications, I’ll seek out the dopamine they would’ve provided by opening an app and refreshing it. If there’s no new content, I’ll search for it in another app.
It’s bad. And I sense the toll it takes on me. I feel exhausted and neglected when there’s nothing new.
I was with a friend the other day and we discussed this. The tendency we have to refresh the page, get the notification, etc. The dopamine that hits when we see something new on our phones is addicting. We’ve all heard this. We’re almost taught to be ashamed of it.
But by itself that feeling - that rush - it’s beautiful. It’s a powerful and transforming thing. But we’ve made it so common place via technology, that we’ve lost the depth of the beauty it is.
This friend of mine told me to try greyscaling my phone. To set it all in black and white essentially. You can do this fairly easily in your iPhone setting. Supposedly, a large part of the rush is the colors tied to notifications.
I did this and went back to the home screen on my phone and something literally seemed to empty out of me. It was a physical experience. Like a long satisfying exhale of emotion. All the red little numbers counting notifications in apps were dull and colorless. There wasn’t urgency. I felt relaxed and free.
Think about how many colors you see on your phone screen. And how those fake colors, the digital lights, take away from the blue of the sky, the green of the trees, the yellow of the flowers.
Something as simple as letting color only exist when we look up from our phones has had a profound impact on me. It’s a simple thing, but makes reality all that much more inviting and intriguing.