It’s official: we have a phone problem.
Although it’s difficult to define exactly, the issue of phone addiction, or ‘nomophobia’ (the fear of being away from your phone), is prevalent in our society and affects a tremendous amount of people.
In the UK, 15-24-year-olds spend an average of four hours on their phones a day, with the wider adult demographic spending just under three. That means most of us are spending a full day on our phones every week. For many, their phone is their most valuable companion, but for all the amazing features, our phone addiction is actually decidedly unhealthy.
Here, we look at the problems too much time with our phones can have, and four key benefits to detaching ourselves from the interconnected world we now live in.
Stop Hating Yourself
Concerns around our social media obsession are becoming well documented. All day every day we are absorbing content from the likes of Facebook and Instagram, promoting people ‘living their best life.’ Sounds nice, but it’s actually making us dislike ourselves and feel disgruntled about our own lives.
Whether it’s painting pictures of non-stop, lavish lifestyles or unrealistic body images, users often come away from their time on social mediadissatisfied with their own, seemingly plain lives and with an overriding sense of FOMO (fear of missing out). Of course, the media we see is a highly tailored and manipulated snapshot into someone else’s life, but that doesn’t stop us harbouring feelings of jealously, envy and loneliness.
Snapping out of the social media cycle will not only allow these unhealthy feelings to subside, but also remind you of how wonderful real life is and everything you have to be thankful for.
Get Better Sleep
Our phones, tablets, laptops and other gadgets emit blue light, which suppresses the production of melatonin that controls our sleep cycle. Less melatonin means it’s harder to get good sleep.Likewise, fiddling with our phones just before bed will trick our brains into staying awake, while the jingles and vibrations of new notifications through the night disturb deep sleep.
Get into a habit of putting your phone to one side in the immediate period before bed – leave at least half an hour for your brain to wean itself off the screen time. You can also set your phone to switch to night mode from the evening onwards, which will remove the blue light and instead opt for a warmer, yellowed tone that’s kinder to your eyes and mind.
Become A better Communicator
Our insistence on mobile communication is crippling our real-life interactions. A Bank My Cell survey found 85% of us will check our devices when talking with friends and family, meaning we’re often too busy instant messaging to actually have a real conversation with the people we love. The irony in some cases is, if the person sat in front of you wasn’t there, but available via their phone instead, you’d probably be more attentive to them.
Taking a break from your phone will push you into more actual conversations, which should remind you of the fundamental social skills required to hold and enjoy good conversation. Communication is a key skill in all walks of life, from professional to romantic, and you can improve yourself as a communicator by putting the phone down.
Appreciate the World Around You
Finally, removing yourself from your phone will give you a chance to rediscover the beautiful world around you. With so much time spent glued to our screens, it’s easy to forget how wonderful the real world is. Whether it’s an amazing view or just a good conversation, you can find plenty of fulfilment away from the screen.
Interestingly, not only will an absence from your phone recapture your imagination for reality, but it will also bring a further appreciation for your phone when you do come to use it. A writer for the New York Times who decided to recover from his ‘phone addiction’ found himself more appreciative than ever of his device once he got it back.
It’s true that we’ve come to take what are effectively handheld super-computers for granted. Mobile phones can help with everything from looking after your finances to planning a holiday, and it’s only once you’ve gone without it for a little while that you realise how amazing the technology actually is.
Thus, detaching yourself from your phone and wider technology will not only bring a zest back to normal life, but will make you appreciate the incredible nature of such devices all over again.