Earlier this year, Darling detailed five tell-tale signs that suggest you may be in need of a digital detox. It just so happens that we weren’t the only ones who thought such a detox was necessary. The results from a project through WNYC’s New Tech City prove that most people crave and are currently fostering a relationship with their phones, computers or iPads more so than with the people surrounding them on a daily basis.

Over 18,000 volunteers took on challenges like “In Your Pocket” and “Delete That App” which motivated the volunteer to put away their phone and jump online less. 90% of people who took on these challenges felt that they had cut down on their phone use by six minutes per day and were also down to one fewer pickup per day.

How many times do we take out our phone, whether it rings or not, or jump online to make sure that those online statuses and Insta videos are updated and uploaded? It’s safe to say we all could use a vacation from our technology and, to take our digital detox list one step further, here are five things we think you’ll gain by hitting the snooze button on that cellular friend of yours.

1. Your distraction will decrease.

Remember how great driving and texting was? You don’t because it wasn’t. Let’s face it, no matter how good we get at juggling ten different things at once, we weren’t designed to multi-task. We accomplish tasks and goals much better when we are one-minded towards those said tasks and goals. Focus defogs us and makes us better listeners. Ditching our digital companion gives us a better chance at focusing in on and succeeding at what’s right in front of us.

2. Your muscle memory will increase.

Remember when you used to store all your family and friends’ phone numbers up in your brain and not in your phone? That was actually benefitting you. A study done by neuroscientist Veronique Bohbot and her team revealed that relying on a navigation device actually reduces the function of the hippocampus, which is what controls memory and spatial function. Put Siri away for a day and get Thomas back out to play. A Thomas guide or a map is a great tool to re-jog that area of your brain. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, just let yourself get lost and use your intuition to find your way back.

3. You’ll take less selfies and find more selflessness.

Being less attached to your phone helps take the focus off of yourself and allows you to discover more opportunities to serve those around you. Next time you’re walking down the grocery aisle and the little old lady next to you is reaching for a can of steel cut oats, you can help her pull it from the shelf because you won’t be watching what’s trending on Youtube. When we’re not consumed with what’s in front of us we can be there for who’s around us and we’ll see and hear them all the more clearly. (Also, your chances of walking into a bus or oncoming traffic decrease 100%).

When we’re not consumed with what’s in front of us we can be there for who’s around us …

4. You’ll pass on being passive.

CNN reported that one-third of Americans prefer to text versus picking up the phone to have a conversation. Because tone cannot be detected in a text message, it tends to be projected or assumed by the person receiving it, thus inviting the elephant of miscommunication into the room. Before hitting that little green iMessage button on your phone, you’ll remember to ask yourself if this is a conversation that should be had voice to voice or face to face.

5. You’ll get bored and find bliss.

It is said that Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity while contemplating the forces of nature and watching an apple fall from a tree in his parent’s backyard. When we are bored, we imagine … because there’s nothing else for us to do. With imagination comes inspiration and with inspiration, creativity. Think of all the things you could dream up by keeping that phone tucked away and enjoying the earth around you.

It’s time to show our phone who’s boss. By keeping our high-tech pal in our pocket longer and deleting apps that are used primarily to pass time, we exhibit control over our lives and prove that we’re in charge, not our phone.

Does your phone rule your life? What changes — big or small — can you make to resume control?

Image via Chelsie Autumn Photography

6 comments

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  2. I’m a tuckered out college student who is feeling quite glum lately because of my excessive phone and technology usage. I have to depend on it so much for school and now for a social life in this day and age that I am simply fed up. This article has given me hope as well as Ariana Huffington’s speech on a digital detox. Thanks dear writer for the extra boost.

  3. I love this article! Technology should be a tool and has become an addiction for many. I am so saddened when I see a family out to dinner with devices in everyone’s hands. Good advice for a healthier community.

  4. This article came out at the perfect time – we live in such a distracted state in this new era of technology. This was such a great encouragement and challenge to me to get off my devices and be present! Wonderful article.

  5. Wonderful analysis of cell phones and digital companions. I agree with all. I’m a simple person. Remember when I could recite all phone numbers. Better that way !! Boredom is a good thing. Makes life better. Reading is fundamental. Good books are the best

  6. So true – I’m especially lacking in the memory building aspect. I just don’t memorize numbers anymore. I know my husband’s. That’s it. Online passwords are my new memory stretcher I think!

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