The value of taking time away from our devices

It can be hard to resist reaching for our smartphones, for minutes, let alone hours, but experts are making a strong case for why we should all do just that. As much as having supercomputers in the palm our hands have proven to enhance our lives, in many ways our phones have adversely affected the way that we process. Having all the answers at our fingertips means that “…we log less practice navigating an uncertain world.” says Ellen Hendriksen, Ph.D. “ Technology has lessened our experience handling uncertainty; we’re less prepared to deal with ambiguity when it arises.”

Studies have shown that our reliance on tech can have an adverse effect on our communication skills. Because so much of how we connect to each other has been digitized, our face-to-face social skills have become weak.

“…we don’t have as much information about what is likely to happen when we spend time with other people, so we default to predicting worst-case scenarios…” says Dr. Hendriksen. We end up avoiding the potential discomfort that can result from interacting with others in real life. 

“What we’re truly avoiding is the uncomfortable emotions that come with interacting with people like awkwardness, anxiety, boredom, and self-consciousness.”

This fear has the potential to place us right back where we started: behind a screen.

The intention today is not to convince anyone that technology is “all-bad” but that we should create moments free of tech. Unplugging does not have to feel like a “time out” but rather an exercise in self-care. Here is a list of tech-free activities to get us inspired:

Get sculpting

You no longer need to outsource your chachkies production, now you can make you very own. UK based brand Sculpd is “getting clay between the fingernails of people looking for an escape-by-making.”  A “Sculpted Pottery Kit contains everything you’ll need to sculpt, carve, paint and seal your own pinch pots, succulent plant pots, trinket dishes, vases, candleholders, sculptures, wall hangings, coasters, pendants and everything in between.” 

Play a game of cards

There is something so satisfying about a little bit of competition, and a game of cards can provide us with just that. All you need for a match of Gin Rummy is a pack of bicycle cards and some notification-free time. Studies have shown that card games, board games and puzzles are good mental stimuli and help promote brain health. Instead of sitting side by side and binging our favourite shows, we can sit face to face and improve our cognitive function. Go fish!

Seek Mindful Pleasure

Whether we’re going solo or with a partner, a little carnal pleasure goes a long way. While there are numerous ways technology can enhance our sex lives we recommend going back to the basics. Practicing mindful sex is said to deepen our connection with our bodies and intensify our pleasure. 

We are encouraged to take our time, communicate openly and breathe slowly: Tech off and hands-on.

Go on a long walk

This may seem like the simplest of suggestions but the truth is that we rarely just walk for walking’s sake. When we do “go for a walk” it is often accompanied by music or our favourite podcast. Getting outside and observing our environment without any distractions can be a powerful exercise in mindfulness. Wandering tech-free allows us not only to be present but to be aware how we feel; physically and emotionally.

Learn to be Bored

Human beings have increasingly lost their ability to cope with boredom. The moment we start to feel that itch of mundanity we reach for the nearest device for instant gratification. What’s more, is that psychologists have connected excessive time spent on our devices to ADHD, anxiety, and depression. Think of when we were children; we had the ability to daydream for hours on end. We allowed our minds to run wild and our creativity to grow boundlessly. Taking moments out of our day to sit and “just “be” can be just what we need to bring us back to a simpler mode.