1. Be bad at technology.
This will make it easier for you to not be constantly looking down at your phone. Being with people yet constantly checking your phone means that you are not present to/with those people in front of you (people who are often your children). Maybe you don’t like those people you’re with and you only like your phone/internet people, but that’s a bigger and different problem. If you are good at technology, it will be far more difficult for you to put your phone away without anxiety.
2. Look around.
This is an interesting world. Even the insides of some seed pods have beautiful designs. Look at stuff. Pick it up. Investigate it. Watch people. Make up stories about them. Just plain enjoy where you are. Right now. Like now, all the trees in my backyard are in shadow except for the Rose of Sharon bush/tree, which is lit up bright, bright green. That was worth a smile.
3. Ask questions.
When you’re with people, ask them questions. And when they’ve answered a question, ask a follow-up. It’s amazing how many people don’t do this, how many people parallel-monologue, like toddlers parallel-playing. You’re a grown up; don’t be a conversational toddler. Asking questions takes you out of your head and makes you present in that moment with that person/those people — and then they feel valued. Oh yeah, and you find out interesting things, too.
So be bad at technology (or work to calm the anxiety of not being constantly connected).
Look around. Ask questions. Be present.
“We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that Lisa-Jo Baker posts here at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday.”