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Why you should put your phone down

Three teenage boys sitting on a couch, all on their cell phones.

Within your circle of friends, there are (most likely) people that have cell phones.

Admittedly I’m one of those friends that has their phone on hand 24/7 and will answer your texts within a few minutes of receiving them. I love using social media and it’s great to share my music with fans and to share events/things I’m doing with my friends & family that live thousands of miles away.

I also love the sense of security that having a phone on hand provides, having a lifeline to reach my parents or my friends if I’m ever in a bad situation and need help. But along with the lifeline that it provides, having a phone can be problematic.

When I’m texting someone, I’m constantly checking my phone to see if they’ve answered. I’m constantly awaiting a reply. My phone is constantly going off with tweets, replies, facebook comments and posts, and other notifications for apps I have. I’m constantly taking pictures of funny things I see and snapchatting funny things to my friends.

And it’s cool how I can connect with friends in so many ways. But it’s also a huge problem, because it distracts me from actually living my life.

So I’ve started taking at least 2 or 3 hours a day where I just do not touch my phone. I force myself to unplug and focus on the people I’m with and taking in scenery that’s around me. It’s amazing the things you notice when you’re not constantly waiting for someone to contact you. I try my best not to text at work so I can keep focused on my projects, and when I’m out with people I don’t look at my phone.

Here are a few things I do to stay committed to being unplugged:

  • Start and finish conversations within a period of time. If you like to check in with your partner or a friend at least once a day, text them in the morning and keep the conversation to about 20 minutes. I find this especially helpful when I have a lot to do that day, knowing that I’ve checked in & can go about my day afterwards.
  • Take in the atmosphere around you. Take in the temperature, how cool the air feels, different smells & look at all the signs, people or buildings around me. You’d be surprised how cool your city is when you take the time to really look at it.
  • If you have a long bus ride, try putting your phone & headphones in your bag and leave them there. Use that time to reflect on your day, or catch up on some sleep!
  • When you’re with someone, put your phone on airplane mode. Having a phone constantly buzzing is super distracting and if you wanted to talk with whoever you’re texting, you should have hung out with them instead. But you’re not, so put it away.
  • When you’re home alone, keep your phone in a different room. In a society where you have access to anyone at anytime, we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be alone. Take an hour to be completely alone with your thoughts. Reflect on your decisions and your day and organize those thoughts.

Unplugging is really hard and it took me a while to be able to do it every day. But it’s helped reduce anxiety, taught me how to live in the moment and to be mindful & organize my thoughts.

Seriously, do it. You won’t regret it.