Developments in technology have allowed us to become easily accessible to others while simultaneously creating more room for us to disengage from the outside world on a personal level. Since we’re able to use our phones to answer emails most people have come to expect responses quickly. Yet, we have so many options of how to use our phone that it’s easy to forget the original use of the phone itself, to be able to call people and have deeper connections with others. We all know the many advantages to having a phone that can act as a computer, a radio, a calculator, and a map among countless other things. It’s easy to get lost in a phone that gives us so many options.
I look around the subway car and notice 80% of the people surrounding me are on their phone. One person is playing candy crush, one is watching a video, one is listening to music, one is on Facebook, and I am writing my most recent blog post. I’m engaging in all that my phone can do as I write to you about the importance of putting our phones away. I can be guilty of using my phone as much as the next person but I also spend most of the night with my phone on silent as it sits face down in the distance from wherever I am.
It’s important to ask yourself if you constantly need your phone nearby. If the answer is yes, it’s time to start thinking about why. Are you anxiously awaiting the arrival of your best friends baby? Is a family member sick in the hospital? Can you not stand the thought of being alone? Is your phone simply a distraction from other hard to feel emotions? Distractions are necessary and healthy at times but both healthy and unhealthy distractions will most certainly catch up with you in a negative way.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to step away:
1. Enjoy the friend, family member, or pet that wants to spend time WITH you. Be present in the moment. Who wants to meet up with a friend for dinner when that friend is more focused on texting and less focused on what you’re saying.
2. It can be good to have time to yourself. Love yourself enough to want to spend time alone. You’re exciting and fun even without your phone.
3. Focus on what is in front of you. If you want to watch your favorite TV show or movie great but if you watch it while you’re playing on your phone or computer than you’re not fully enjoying it.
4. You’re always available when you’re constantly on your phone. Is that what you want? Once you set the precedence that you respond within minutes to an email people will expect that of you. You can break this pattern. Stop checking and responding immediately and people will start to recognize that you have a life aside from them and your job.
5. Your phone may put your health at risk. Being so engulfed in your phone may mean easily walking in front of a moving car or straight into a pole on the sidewalk. Is getting to that next level of candy crush really worth the risk?
I’m not suggesting we change the way the world works and throw out our phones; quite frankly I think a lot of people enjoy our latest advances in technology.
I am promoting self-care. I don’t think self-care and being attached to your phone at all times goes hand and hand. Being without your phone is healthy too.