We’ve all heard it a thousand times. Being dependent on your phone, or any screen for that matter has a slew of negative repercussions. There have been studies that have shown how it hurts child development, relationships, and the ability to communicate face-to-face just to name a few. Despite the overwhelming evidence, we still tend to gravitate or even become addicted to our screens. So instead of harping on the negative effects (which doesn’t seem to motivate people), I thought I’d list a few benefits I realized when I chose to remove the distractions for a week.
Before I do, let me clarify “unplugging”. That doesn’t mean you’re not looking at your phone for an hour. It means leaving your phone at home for a day… or half a day if 12 hours is too much to ask. Although it says something if you can’t go a day without emerging yourself in a screen of some kind. You probably need to unplug more if your response is “yeah, but…..” 😉
Your ability to think opens up. Literally. Unplugging for an extended period of time removes distractions long enough for you to actually hear YOUR thoughts instead of the clutter of everyone else. We are constantly bombarded with other people’s opinions, the news, politics, etc. When you unplug it gives you a chance to collect your own thoughts. Ones that aren’t swayed by others.
You can actually get to know the people that are in front of you. There’s listening and intentional listening. My wife is a master at the latter, but it doesn’t have to be exclusive to a certain personality type. Removing distractions allows you to connect with people at a deeper level… instead of your phone.
It lets emotions come to the surface that you’ve buried. I can hear some of your cringes on this one, but you’d be amazed at how many of my clients have a hard time connecting with their emotions. The homework I give? Simple… unplug. From there you can actually work with the real emotions that are driving your life, not the ones you’re using your phone to numb.
It broadens your ability to be creative. This isn’t reserved for the artists. Creativity is needed is almost all walks of life. Unplugging will help you come up with new ideas, see things from different angles, and identify better solutions for where you’re at. Feeling stuck in life? Unplug for a weekend and use that time to regroup.
Your sleep improves. You may not realize the negative ripple effects your phone has on your sleep, but remove it from your bedroom and you’ll find out. I’m sticking with the positives so I won’t harp on the way that it shuts down your melatonin production or the list of long-term effects… so instead I’ll leave a link to this great article. 😉
It helps your memory. When you become dependent on your phone it causes you to retain less information in every area of your life. It goes a lot deeper than trying to remember someone’s phone number. When you unplug you’re taking in your surroundings, which in turn helps your retain experiences and details that you would otherwise overlook.
It forces you to come out of hiding. Passivity is ramped in our culture. I’m not saying our phones are the single reason why…. But think of the last time you were waiting in line, for anything, and actually engaged with the people you’re standing next to. Is it uncomfortable? Yes. But does it create opportunities and connections that you would probably miss? Yes.
All this said I’m not at all insinuating that phones are evil. I rely on mine for my business and use it on a regular basis. But you need to be able to live this life without being tethered to it. It’s why some of us love camping. It’s more than just enjoying nature. The refreshment comes from taking time to unplug, regroup, and dive back into all life has to throw our way.
The Challenge: Unplug. For longer than you would be comfortable. If you check your phone multiple times an hour the challenge may be to leave it at home when you go to a party. If you use it but aren’t addicted then try a technology free weekend. The longer you can go the better. You’ll be glad you did.