"You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something, that's what the phones are taking away — the ability to just sit there...I started to get that sad feeling and reached for my phone, but I thought 'don't' — just be sad, let it hit you like a truck." - Louis CK
It's hard to confront feelings of sadness. With smartphones, we can live in a state of almost perpetual distraction. Our screens help suppress our sad thoughts.
But what about when driving?
Driving requires a high level of alertness, as we have to make hundreds of small decisions over the course of a commute.
So this leads to a dilemma. We need to focus on the road, but we also want to ignore emotions that come bubbling up to the surface.
And that's why we reach for our phones. We want the distraction. We crave the dopamine hit of receiving new messages and notifications.
How do we overcome this problem?
I think that meditation is a good way to deal with this issue. Although meditation has been advocated ad nauseam, it's worth repeating how it can help you.
When meditating, you stop trying to distract yourself. You lean in to your feelings, despite the discomfort you might experience.
Once you acknowledge your feelings, they suddenly have less power over you. As many have said, 'what you resist, persists'.
So if you feel sad, try to just recognize it and accept it. If you try to ignore of deny your feelings, then they will simmer just below the surface.
If we meditate regularly and get in touch with how we're feeling, then we'll have more self-control in the car when we get an urge to reach for our phones.
Sadness is an inevitable emotion that we all experience from time to time. Acknowledge it, accept it, and move on.