Friends Walking - device free moments

Why taking some time away from our tech is a good idea

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 of our hands has 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.” Proving that there is legitimate evidence for creating more device-free moments.

Studies have shown that our reliance on tech can even negatively affect 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.

Today’s intention 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: 

Device-free moments: Get sculpting

You no longer need to outsource your chachkies production now; you can make your very own. Uk-based brand Sculpd is “getting clay between the fingernails of people looking for an escape-by-making.” A “Sculpd 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.” 

Device-free moments: 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.

Device-free moments: Seek Mindful Pleasure

A little sensual pleasure goes a long way, whether we’re going solo or with a partner. While there are numerous ways technology can enhance our sex lives, we recommend going back to the basics. Practicing mindful sex can 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.

Device-free moments: 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 of how we feel, physically and emotionally.

Learning 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, 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.