TNM: What inspired you to write this book?
HE: The simple answer is: for my sanity’s sake. Over the last few years, the number of notifications I get on my phone has crept up. Most days, between work, teachers, and coaches, I send and receive 90+emails, 90+ texts, and get a gazillion other push notifications from apps like TeamSnap, Game Changer, and Remind. It got to the point where I was ping-ponging between tasks, chores, and kids all day long—zipping down one rabbit hole after another—so that my brain never got to rest. It took a toll on me. I felt stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious, and my migraines became more frequent and more severe.
Oh, and then there were my children who always seemed to have a screen in their hands. When the news started reporting how dangerous screen time was for their physical and mental development, I got scared and started doing my own research.
TNM: Why do you think people are so addicted to their phones?
HE: The answer is two-fold. First, an expectation has evolved over time that we have our phones on or near our bodies at all times and will respond immediately, or near immediately, to the notifications we receive. This propels people to never put their phones down.
Second, when your phone pings or you get a “like” on social media, your brain gets a hit of dopamine. The addiction center in our brain doesn’t discriminate. Whether it is drugs, sex, porn, or the smartphone, the addiction response is the same. The bottom line is 40% of Americans, and 50% of teens, are legitimately addicted to their smartphones. We have to do better.
TNM: What are a few tips for putting the phone down?
HE: –AVOID SENDING ACTION-REQUIRED OR TIME-SENSITIVE TEXTS.
This perpetuates the intrinsic pressure most feel to never put their phones down and is the reason 75% of people say the phone is never more than 5 feet from their body.
– TURN THE PHONE OFF OR PUT IT ON SILENT when you are involved in an activity or spending time with someone. Being more present and mindful has its own host of physical and emotional benefits. Letyourself fully engagein what you’re doing or who you’re with. Your mind and body will thank you.
-READ THE BOOK AND TAKE THE BIG HANG UP 7-DAY CHALLENGE With any endeavor, the stronger the “why” behind what you’re doing, the greater the success. My book is the “why,” and the 7day challenge is the “how.”
TNM: What are the benefits of being more hands free?
- Better time management
- Increased Mindfulness and mental engagement
- Reduction in the risk of a distracted driving car accident
- Mitigate the chemical imbalance that occurs with passive scrolling
- Reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Improved creativity.
- More time for the things and people that matter most.
TNM: How has this improved your life?
HE: In a nutshell, I feel like the boss of myself again. The reality was, for a long time, the phone was controlling me. It pinged, and I jumped—regardless of what I was doing, who I was with, and irrespective of the matter’s urgency. It was a destructive and disruptive way to live. By silencing the phone more often and fully engaging in the things and people that matter most in my life, I’ve gained a sense of peacefulness that was so sorely missing.
TNM: Where can we learn more about The Big Hang Up?
HE: Please visit my website to learn more about me, the book, and my mission. You can also watch recent TV Clips, listen to FB live broadcasts and podcasts, and read additional articles I’ve published based off the content in my book. The address is: www.TheBigHangUp.com
See Haley on Today in Nashville!