Step away from your smartphone…

By Rachel Crowther

London Underground is a scary place to be at rush hour. Not least because of the volume of people or being 40 meters underground but because of the zombifying effect it can have on people…

In his book Wake Up! Chris Barez-Brown says we spend 80% of our waking days on auto-pilot and that couldn’t be more prevalent than on the interchange between tube lines at Green Park. I’ve seen people do the whole journey without looking up from their phones!  Looking around a train carriage you’ll see people are, more often than not, engrossed in their phones: furiously playing Candy Crush Saga or working through their emails on the way to work.

Our smartphone addiction doesn’t end when we’re overground and it’s not restricted to urban life. Spare time is so often filled with using our mobiles: whether that’s while walking, sitting in a park, waiting in a line – the first thing we tend to do is reach for the phone. I recently read about a ‘scroll hole’, “the uncontrollable act of mindlessly scrolling through your social media feed” which made me laugh but also look at my phone usage. Scary.

The Street Wisdom approach is all about increasing your awareness and paying attention to what is around you, it can be very powerful and is an easy way of implementing mindfulness into your daily routine. Why not give it a go one day this week, with this simple exercise:

This week when you’re in a queue, sat on the tube, waiting for a friend or whenever you have some spare time: instead of reaching for your smartphone try just being still, focus on your breathing for a little and notice what is around you. Notice what people are doing, look for anything you’ve not seen before, notice any patterns or signs around you. See how you can be inspired by your environment. 

For the full Street Wisdom experience, join us for one of many free events taking place all over the world. You can see a list of upcoming events here.