It’s not lost on us how ironic it is that you’re reading an article about detaching from devices… on a device.
Whether for work or play, we are all objectively spending far too much of our day staring at screens of one size or another. It’s not your fault – most jobs require face time with a screen, but given a choice, we still gravitate towards a device even in our free time.
Here are some reasons why you should consider putting down your device more often.
You’ll sleep better
Back in the day (way back!), when people used the sun as the only indicator of when to rise and when to rest, we maintained healthy circadian rhythms, allowing our bodies and minds to rest and recover. In fairness, there wasn’t much to do when the sun went down, and visibility was minimal.
Today, the bright glare of screens is tricking our bodies into thinking that the day is not over, and we’re dedicating less and less time to rest, putting out health and well-being at risk.
Sure, there are blue light filtering glasses and “night mode” on most phones now, but the best way to get a good rest is to put down your devices as the day draws to a close and allow your body the natural wind-down process for better sleep. Sure, there are blue light filtering glasses and "night mode" on most phones these days, but the best way to get a good night's sleep is to put down your devices as the day ends and allow your body to go through its natural wind-down process for better sleep.
You’ll have better in-person conversations
If the less-than-subtle glance at a phone in the middle of a conversation bothers you when someone else does it, you’re not alone. Even the quickest look mid-chat is enough to make you question whether you’re being taken seriously or an engaging conversationalist.
To practice active listening skills and to communicate interest in another person, put your devices away while you speak to someone else. It’s far more acceptable to call for a pause to check your device than to distract from the conversation by sneaking looks.
You’ll reduce anxiety (eventually)
Most of us have habitually checked our devices for new emails, messages, and notifications, even when there are no audible signs that anything has changed. The compulsion to refresh is natural.
Compulsions are ritualised, repetitive behaviours you feel compelled to perform, and you’ll recognise this as a problem when they’re irrational. You checked your phone 1 minute ago. Why would anything have changed in such a short time? But you just can’t help it.
Not checking, however, causes anxiety.
By muting your notifications and scheduling dedicated times to check in on updates, you’ll be doing yourself a favour and nixing this bad habit, reducing your anxiety over time.
You’ll boost your productivity
When was the last time you concentrated on a single task, allowing yourself to be wholly immersed in an experience until it felt like you were in a flow state?
Most of us may wish to induce this flow state while working on a device, so the advice holds - don’t allow other devices to distract you from the task at hand. That means watching that movie without your phone, writing those emails without the TV on, and finishing that report without checking your phone notifications. Multitasking is out. The constant flipping back and forth between tasks is distracting, exhausting, and counterproductive. Now, try to zero in on a single task until it’s done, and watch your productivity soar.
Food will taste better
If you’re the type of person whose phone is constantly at the table during meal times just in case a message comes in, or you like to dig in while the TV is on, there’s a good chance you’re not fully in tune with the sensation of eating. And if you’re distracted as you eat, your sense of taste and smell are compromised, resulting in a far less exciting meal. The next time you sit down to eat, take a second to appreciate all the senses – how the food looks on your plate, how it is served, what it smells like, its temperature, texture and consistency. Identify flavours in each bite and consider how the food you’re eating nourishes your entire body.
You’ll control your weight better
You probably heard about mindful eating – focusing on your meal and the sensation of eating during meal times. Studies have shown that we’re less likely to overeat and more likely to feel satisfied after eating each meal if we don’t succumb to distractions and multi-tasking while we chow down. The idea is to remain present and aware of your body’s signs telling you when you’ve had enough, so you don’t overeat.
You’ll model better behaviour for your kids
If you’ve given your kids a tough time about how long they spend on their devices, chances are you need to do some self-reflection.
Are you modelling the kind of behaviour you want them to emulate? Children are more likely to do as you do, not as you say, so if they find it hard to part with that tablet, assess how you might be setting an example. Device-free family time is the best way to engage and create memories.
This article was brought to you by Naluri’s Mental Health Coaches. Naluri empowers you to develop healthy lifestyle habits, achieve meaningful health outcomes, and be healthier and happier through personalised coaching, structured programmes, self-guided lessons, and health tools and devices. Download the Naluri app today or contact email@example.com for more information on utilising digital health coaching and therapy to become a happier, healthier you.