Today’s smartphones are like modern, miniature wizards. We depend on them for communication, for information, for productivity, and for fun and leisure. How is it possible that one tiny device can pack so much power? With all the benefits of your phone, it is not surprising that we have come to rely on our phones so heavily. However, with all the benefits, we must also be aware of the costs. As the old saying goes, “with great power, comes great responsibility” – and with that, a responsibility to recognize our own requirements and the need to occasionally unplug.
There are numerous reasons to unplug from our phones and other devices, with health and well being at the top of the list. For those in search of a mindful vacation from technology but lack the ability or incentive to follow through, check out the list of reasons below and get inspired.
The first step to solving a problem is recognizing there is one. Unfortunately, technology addiction is a growing problem and it is impacting teens and adults across the country. Currently, two-thirds of U.S. adults have smartphones, with 46% saying that they cannot live without it. This is similar to another recent statistic that 50% of teens claim they are addicted to their smart phones.
It can be difficult to recognize addiction until the object of addiction (such as a smartphone) is taken away. Once the object is removed, the dependence on it becomes all the more visible and a plan of action can begin.
Creating a Work/Life Balance
Many of us use our phones to check work email and other work-related communication channels. However, this can be problematic for those of us looking to leave our work at the office. It is not uncommon for many to respond to emails after typical work hours, which can create an unhealthy pattern of behavior. By maintaining work/life balance, we set ourselves up for success in creating distance. Research shows that we need periods of relaxation in between work hours to mentally recharge for the next workday. In order to be at our professional best, we must respect our own personal boundaries.
Reducing Unwanted Feelings of “FOMO” or Jealousy
The fear of missing out – colloquially referred to as “FOMO” – can at times feel unavoidable when perusing social media. Why does your distant cousin get to recharge over a week-long Caribbean vacation while you’re stuck with 10-hour work days? Social media has an uncanny way of pointing out the obvious – that sometimes, life just isn’t fair. Researchers have studied the effects of social media for years, finding that people often feel worse about their lives after visiting Facebook. In order to combat negative feelings of “FOMO” or jealousy, take a break from social media and unplug. Clear your head and find comfort in your immediate surroundings.
Life doesn’t stop happening around us just because we’re plugged into our devices. Many of us have been that person on vacation that gets so caught up taking pictures that we forget to breathe and be in the moment. It’s easy to lose focus on life around us when we’re so intent on capturing moments and keeping up appearances. This can not only take a toll on our self-esteem, but it can also be damaging to relationships.
By being present and connecting with loved ones in person, we nurture our relationships and foster a sense of camaraderie. Though we can digitally capture a moment in time, we can never really re-live it, so why not put the phone down to enjoy it in the moment? Strive for authenticity in life experiences, even if that means taking a break from beloved technology.
We use our phones for almost everything these days — to call our loved (and not so loved) ones, to check email, to play games, and browse the Internet. That said, so much of life can’t be lived out on a screen. What tips do you have for unplugging? Share in the comments below!