In our modern society, we feel particularly attached to our phones. In fact, it’s almost impossible to go a day without seeing nearly everyone staring at his or her phone. While some people enjoy having news and entertainment constantly at their fingertips, others like knowing they can always be reached in an emergency. However, there are also some very good reasons why you should leave your phone home.
Sometimes you leave your phone at home accidentally. You’re in a rush to get out the door and don’t even realize your phone is still sitting on the counter when you leave. However, there are others who purposely leave their phones behind so they don’t have to stress about always feeling the need to stay plugged in.
Whether you’re going to work or out for fun, there are some compelling reasons to leave your phone at home on purpose, even if it’s just once in a while. The simple act of leaving your phone behind, or what others like to call “unplugging,” can actually reverse the negative consequences that phones have on our work, productivity, social relationships, and more.
While cellphone use isn’t considered an addiction, most of us probably have to readjust our thinking when we accidentally leave our phones behind. We want to text someone to let him or her know we’re running late, but we can’t. We want to double-check the address or directions to where we’re going, but we can’t. We want to pass a few idle minutes by playing a game or checking social media, but we can’t.
It isn’t until we don’t have our phone right next to us that we realize how much we depend on it. This is why some research suggests it’s actually healthy and important to take a phone break. In fact, leaving your phone at home can help you in the following areas.
We all know that driving and texting or talking on the phone is dangerous. Some people can have their phone in the cup holder next to them and never look at it when they’re driving. However, for others, checking their phone has become such a habit that they don’t even realize when they do it. In other words, some people automatically feel like they must check for, read, and respond to messages, and they may not even realize that they’re doing it while they’re driving until it’s done.
Pay attention to what’s going on around you
We’ve heard the stories about people getting injured when they walk into posts or fall off ledges because they were paying more attention to their phone than to where they were walking. If you leave your phone at home, you can watch what’s going on around you, and you never know what you might end up seeing.
Improve work-life balance
When we always have our phones on us, bosses and co-workers know that we’re always available. We also feel the need to check our email, answer questions, and get some work done. If you occasionally leave your phone at home and go a few hours without responding to calls or emails, you show that your personal time is valuable. If possible, consider taking an entire weekend without using your phone to check your email. The time away from work can help you handle stress better and promotes an improved work-life balance.
Feel better about yourself
While social media is intended to help us stay connected with our friends and family, evidence suggests it can amplify feelings of low self-esteem and anxiety. When we see pictures of seemingly perfect families and vacations, we start to compare our own lives to what we think others have. When you leave your phone at home, you won’t feel compelled to check your social media accounts as often, and it can help you feel better about yourself.
Another issue many people face when they’re always checking their social media accounts on their phone is the fear of missing out. They see people going out to eat, enjoying parties, attending games, or otherwise having a good time. They’re so worried that they’re missing out on all the fun that they spend more time following it online than going out and experiencing it themselves.
Create a good connection with others
Head to any restaurant or social gathering and chances are good you’ll see plenty of people looking at their phones instead of interacting with each other. The next time you go out to dinner, leave your phone at home. See what it’s like to not feel compelled to check in, find out what other friends are doing as you wait, and take pictures of your food when it arrives. Instead, simply enjoy talking with your dining companion and watching the happenings around you.
Leaving your phone at home might also give you a chance to meet new people. Whether sitting on the bus or having a cup of coffee outside, many of us feel compelled to check our phones when we have a few minutes to spare. Yet when we do, we cut ourselves off from the amazing people who are around us. You never know who you might strike up a conversation with when you’re open and looking around instead of staring at your phone.
Most of us think we’re good at multitasking. We think that sitting in our office with our phone beside us to check messages while we’re also trying to accomplish work tasks is a good use of our time. However, studies consistently show that we’re actually pretty terrible at multitasking and trying to do two tasks at once never boosts our productivity. Even worse, it seems that trying to always multitask decreases our ability to form short-term memories. So the next time you head to work, leave your phone at home and see how much more you get completed during the day.
Using your phone right before bed impacts your ability to fall asleep and causes you to have less energy the next day. The bright light that cellphones emit sends a signal to our brains that it’s not time to go to sleep. Additionally, reading or playing games on our phones right before bed doesn’t help our brains relax enough to fall asleep. Even worse, some people use their phones as their alarm clocks, so the phones are always right next to them on the nightstand.
If you’re going on vacation to get some rest and recharge, consider leaving your phone at home, so you do get some sleep when you’re away. When you come back, also think about charging your phone somewhere other than your bedroom and buying a regular alarm clock. This way, you’re getting the sleep you need throughout the week.
Enjoy some peace and quiet
The constant dings and pings of phone calls, text messages, email notifications, and reminders from apps create a noise that follows you wherever you go. The next time you go for a walk, leave your phone at home and don’t listen to any music. Instead, enjoy what you hear from nature. You’ll hear birds sing and the sound of the wind rustling the leaves. If you’re near water, simply relax to the sounds of waves splashing on rocks. There are so many beautiful sounds we forget about when we’re outside because we’re more focused on listening to our phones.
Keep some mystery in your life
With our phones always on our side, we’ve come to the point where it seems we share every moment of our days. We check-in when we’re getting gas, we share what we’re eating for lunch, we complain about the argument we just had with our partners, and more. Most of our friends and family truly don’t care about these trivial updates we give throughout the day. Instead, keep these things to yourself and tell them to everyone in person. Have the family over for dinner or meet your friends for lunch and use the updates you would have posted online to have something to talk about.
The next time you get ready to head out your door, take a second to consider whether you really want to bring your phone along. You might be surprised how much you enjoy your outing when you leave your phone at home.
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