The Pew Research Center found that over 91 percent of adult Americans own a cellphone, and 56 percent of those phones are smartphones. With our phones, we stay in touch with friends, work from home, and often spend too much time using them. Here are 13 joys your phone might be stealing from you.
1. Appreciate Your Date
Imagine you received an invitation to meet your favorite author, sports star or political hero. Would you spend the entire time talking on the phone or texting someone else? Of course not, so extend the same courtesy to your date. Be all there with him or her and appreciate the opportunity to spend time together without distractions.
2. Enjoy the Outdoors
Beautiful flowers, majestic trees and fresh air uplift your mood and offer a variety of entertaining activities. Instead of admiring Instagram pictures of sunsets or watching funny cat videos on YouTube, turn off your cellphone and walk outside or sit on your front porch as you enjoy the outdoors in person.
3. Sleep Better
If your phone buzzes with notifications at all hours of the night, you’re not getting enough sleep. Harvard University researchers confirm the health benefits of sleep, which include reduced risk of developing obesity, hypertension and a host of health challenges. Sleep better when you turn your phone off at a decent hour, unwind before bed and get a phone-free night’s sleep.
4. Savor Meals
When was the last time you actually savored your food? Stop worrying about getting a good shot of your meal and take a few minutes to savor each aromatic and delectable bite.
5. Treasure Solitude
Everyone needs time alone to reflect on life, think about important decisions or just recharge. Put down your phone and treasure these moments of solitude and the inner peace, harmony and calm they provide.
6. Be Creative
You have no time to be creative when you’re constantly on the phone. Rather than building a social network or your Farmville inventory, pour your creative juices into art, woodworking, baking or scrapbooking.
7. Find Contentment
When you spend hours every day looking at happy Facebook pictures, reading about the successes others enjoy or complaining to your friends about your lives, you aren’t enjoying your blessings. Get off your smartphone and start being thankful for and content with what you have.
8. Cultivate Face-to-Face Friendships
We need face time with our friends. In fact, research shows that friends prolong our lives. Call a friend right now, and set up a date to hang out in person. You’ll be amazed at how rejuvenated and healthier you feel afterwards.
9. Live in the Moment
You miss your favorite song on the radio, the chance to chat with a friend or the funny joke your co-worker just told when you’re busy checking your phone. At a concert, you’ll see many fans with their phones held high in front of their faces to record the event. There is even some evidence of new moms sharing the birth of their newborns on their phones before holding them. Instead, immerse yourself in the experience with nothing in between you and life. Live in the moment, you phone can wait!
10. Achieve Your Dreams
What dreams, goals and aspirations do you have? Get off the phone and get to work on making those dreams to travel the world, climb Mt. Everest, write a book or start a business come true. You’ll be amazed at how much time social media and internet surfing on the phone can consume. Cherish that precious time instead, because once it’s gone, it’s gone.
11. Play With Your Kids
Visit a playground on a summer day, and you’ll see many parents on their phones instead of playing with their kids. I’m not piling on the mommy guilt here, but I do encourage parents to prioritize their kids and be all there during play time at home and at the park. They grow up fast and you won’t want to miss a single precious moment.
12. Stay Clean
Good physical hygiene is important to your health and to those around you. Don’t let your phone come between you and healthy personal hygiene habits. Also, having a phone pressed to your cheek for prolonged periods of time can cause breakouts and skin irritation. Make sure to sanitize your phone after each use.
13. Live Longer
Sixty-nine percent of adult drivers talk on the phone and 31 percent text while driving. Additionally, distracted driving kills over 3,000 people annually, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You could be next. No conversation is important enough to risk your or someone else’s life, so never text or talk and drive.
Cellphones are part of life. Phone addictions, however, are very real and very dangerous. I know your phone is important, but I encourage you to address the hold it has on your daily life and to seek professional help if you’re overly dependent on this technology. Discover everything you’ve been missing, including these 13 joys, when you turn your phone off and truly live.