A popular meme reads: “I’m having people over to stare at their phones later if you want to come by…” It’s kind of funny in an alarming way since many people would consider walking barefoot across flaming hot coals before parting with their smartphones for a few weeks.
As useful as things like the Internet and mobile devices are, taking time to occasionally unplug is a good habit. Even if for no other reason than to develop your willpower and avoid being too heavily addicted to your wireless toy.
Consider the following three reasons for periodically unplugging from technology and taking a minute to smell the roses:
1. Face-To-Face Interaction
As useful as social media is for things like marketing, maintaining contact with old friends and sending messages across the world in the blink of an eye, there’s no substitute for a friendly meeting and a firm handshake.
There are few things in life that have more potential to increase our happiness than building good relationships with the people around us. Taking the effort to postpone the reading and answering of your latest text message in order to listen and offer attention to the person in front of you can be a great way to improve relationships and show people you care.
If you want a more practical and success-driven reason, then consider the fact that developing a healthy network is one of the most powerful ways to successfully grow your business or career. Spending a business lunch or golf game glued to your touchscreen is a lousy way to build that network.
2. Creative Thinking
Creativity is another powerful asset in your effort to expand your success, solve your problems and increase your happiness. Getting in the habit of frequent, diligent reading (an activity often performed with mobile devices) is essential in developing your creative capacity. In addition, investing alone time to occasionally take a step back to think, review options and consider possible solutions towards life’s struggles is a great quality.
Making a habit of doing so can be beneficial for planning your career, planning an exciting night out on the town with your spouse, planning how to discipline your teenager and plenty more.
“Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.” – Mencius
3. Health Concerns
The health risks caused by electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) are numerous and not to be ignored. Health damaging EMFs are emitted by various types of electronic devices including cellphones, tablets and laptops among others. Although pretending these dangers don’t exist may seem convenient, there’s nothing convenient about dealing with the consequences. Some have even suggested that cell phones may eventually prove to be as cancerous as cigarettes. Don’t believe me?
In the book ‘The Non-Tinfoil Guide To EMFs’, Nicolas Pineault writes, “A $25M study performed by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) studied the effects of exposing rats and mice to an amount of cellphone radiation equivalent to what a human would get by talking for 30 minutes a day, for 36 years.
“As reported by Microwave News: ‘The exposed rats were found to have higher rates of two types of cancers: glioma, a tumor of the glial cells in the brain, and malignant schwannoma of the heart, a very rare tumor. None of the unexposed control rats developed either type of tumor.’
“The irony is the whole reason John Bucher, the senior manager of the NTP study, wanted his agency to run this study is to prove once and for all that cellphones do not cause cancer.”
Swearing off technology is probably not the most practical solution. (Although if that’s your thing, then rock on.) That said, occasionally taking a break from technology and spending some time in nature might help counteract some of the negative effects.
Bonus: Stress Reduction
With so many people in our culture complaining of excessive stress and/or taking antidepressants, it makes sense to proactively take steps to reduce stress before it builds up so much that you experience a nervous breakdown.
I don’t know about you, but when I get away from the computer or turn off my mobile device for a bit, I can feel the difference. If I’ve been working on my laptop or tablet for too long, then getting away and taking a break offers a noticeable relief. I almost immediately feel calmer.
If you’ve been on your phone/tablet/computer for a while, consider taking a few minutes after you finish reading this article to leave technology behind and catch a breath of fresh air.
“The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug.” – Pico Iyer
Are you ready to build stronger relationships? Are you ready to proactively develop creative solutions? Are you ready to start preserving your health? Are you ready to leave some of that stress behind you? If so, then it’s time to fit a periodical unplug into your schedule. You might be surprised by how much this helps.