Reduce Your Stress: Tell Your Phone Who's Text is Important

Your cell phone is a relentless master. And it has you trained better than Pavlov's Dog.

When it vibrates, you look at it; it twerps, you look at it; dings, you look at it; even when you're not supposed to be, you're looking at it. We do this with our phones because we've unwittingly created an unhealthy addictive response cycle in our brain, yet none of that constant anxiety really helps us to become more productive or more efficient. In fact, it just fuels a mounting sense of anxiety.

If you're ready to take control of things, and put more investment in the current moment, here's a couple of good suggestions on how to manage text messaging more effectively. These instructions are for an iPhone, but a similar process can likely be followed on any mobile phone system. Okay, ready?

1. Turn off Vibration for Text Messages. On an iPhone, you can do this by accessing Settings > Sounds, and de-selecting both of the vibrate options.

2. Turn off Sound for Text Messages. In the same space, you'll want to put the text tone to None.

3. Enable a Text Tone for Important Contacts. In your Contacts, find a Contact from whom you always need to be alerted when they text you. Think of somebody important in your life - not clients, not just anyone - who you really want to be notified when they text you. 

4. Edit a Contact. Change the Text Tone to a tone of your choice. Leave the Vibration selection off. Save your changes.

Final Thoughts

Okay, you might ask me, why turn off vibration entirely?

  • Well, first off, you and others around you can still hear it, even when it vibrates, and it disturbs the moment of Now. That's not useful.
  • Second, by not disabling it, you train your body to listen by feeling for the vibration, even to a point of creating imaginary false positives where you think you're feeling the vibration of your phone but you really aren't.  That's actually kind of creepy.
  • Third, vibration drains the cell phone battery faster than playing a tone. So, yeah, it serves a practical purpose. Use less energy. Save the planet. Yadda-yadda.

If your goal is to disassociate the habitual response of checking your cell phone with each and every incoming text message, by telling your cell phone specifically who is important, you can filter out the noise of irrelevant and meaningless messages that pull your mind away from Now. You can check text messages as if they were email messages - on your own time and schedule that works for you - and with substantially less drooling.