2020 was a year filled with intensity and change. Many of those changes didn’t happen voluntarily and inspired personal changes While some of them were choices made. Amongst the grandiose involuntary changes going on, some of us felt inspired to make changes to our personal lives. In May of 2020 I decided to do something I had been wanting to do for years. It was time for me to get rid of my smartphone.
I was honestly a bit concerned that the transition would be bumpy and possibly stressful. Not being able to easily text nor use a GPS for unfamiliar routes was a concern. In the end, neither of these ended up being much of an issue really. Ultimately, it was an easy switch. One that brought relief and so many rewards.
It’s hard to not be aware of the common smartphone addiction that plagues most people these days. It’s an everyday occurrence to see groups of people hanging out “together” while most of them are glued to the screens. Or, maybe you are one of those people who automatically reaches for your phone as soon as you feel bored or are faced with a challenging situation.
There is no doubt about it. The smartphone addiction is a difficult one to break as long as you continue using one. Even those who are more mindful and aware can still fall prey. The way most social media platforms have been designed makes it really so that you are fighting an uphill battle. No matter if you are wanting to use the phone sparingly or not.
It might seem drastic, but many of us are finding that to remove the smartphone completely from our lives is actually a completely reasonable and effective way to combat the addiction.
Benefits of Living without a Smartphone
Smartphones made their way into our lives by offering some smooth conveniences. However, the amount of attention, time, and personal energy diverted into our phones has been gradually increasing. Now it seems that smartphone are actually taking more from us than they’re giving.
There is actually quite a long list of incredible benefits of living with a smartphone. I’ll share several of what I have experienced myself. Most of which are why I decided to make the shift in the first place.
1. Save Time
Social media platforms were designed to keep us scrolling. They suck us in and provide dopamine hits that keep us coming back for me. That’s not to say you won’t use social media if get rid of your smartphone. But, if your device isn’t always right next to you or in your back pocket, it’s much less likely you’ll be checking notifications. If you don’t think your valuable time is being sneakily being sucked away from you, just keep track of your screen time. Chances are, you will be appalled.
I know that the phone can be a way to procrastinate whatever it is you aren’t sure how to tackle. I’ve been there. But, just think of all of the things you’d really like to be getting done and how much time you’d be getting back in your day if you were not longer a slave to your phone.
2. Get your Focus Back
When we get on our phones to check something, our attention is immediately hijacked. Whatever is it you wanted to be focusing on is gone. Not only that, but once you finally do put the phone down, your psychic energy is now polluted with whatever you were just looking at.
This is especially true if you were on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. These days, it’s especially difficult to be online and not be affected by fear and overwhelm. Think of a time when you were online and were triggered by someone’s post or you responded to someone and couldn’t stop thinking about how bothered you were. That energy doesn’t just stop as soon as you put the phone down. It lingers and stays with you. It can make it difficult to simply move onto the next thing that you actually want to be doing. Removing the smartphone from the picture really helps you get your focus back.
3. Be More Present
When we aren’t concerned about responding to messages or checking notifications, we can be much more present in life. Whether it’s with loved ones, ourselves, or our beautiful environment. Can you think of a time when you were in a gorgeous nature setting and you wanted to make sure you captured a few selfies. Your attention is no longer on your surroundings and the inspiration all around. Rather, it’s not on how good your photos look and who will or won’t approve of them.
Or maybe you’re watching a movie with your family and you decide to check your phone. I’ve seen this happen where what’s going on on the big screen isn’t enough. We need more stimulation or excitement so we seek out the phone. This can ring true with just about any activity in life. The smartphone is always there to pull us away mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually.
4. Cell Phone Effects on Health
One of the main reasons I wanted to stop using my iPhone was because of the profoundly high levels of EMF it emitted. I had a case that was supposed to help dampen it, but I still didn’t feel ok knowing what was going on. High levels of EMF can literally cause the brain to swell and the nervous system to be on edge. It also affects the cellular health of our bodies.
If you are someone who sleeps with your phone next to you at night, this is particularly unhealthy. The body does the bulk of its repair at night, but high levels of EMF can interfere with these processes. This is especially troublesome for children since they’re brains are still developing.
Check out this post to learn more about EMF.
5. You Can’t be Tracked Easily by Big Government
In 2020, there has been a good amount of speculation about tracking mechanisms. It is possible for both Android and Mac IOS to include tracking automatically in their system updates. They did some strange things this past year that proved this already. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to not have a tracking device in my pocket.
I highly suggest you pay careful attention if you are planning on dumbing down your phone. Unless of course you are going to toss the whole idea of a cell phone. I know folks who’ve done it and feel quite free!
But for those who’d like to have something for emergencies at the very least, a simple flip phone is great. I purchased this one and it does the job fine. Some of these non smartphones out there still have a lot of the gadget traps that negate many of the benefits. Some of them even still do GPS and have potential tracking that can occur. So don’t be fooled. If you are just wanting a mobile phone, a basic flip phone will do.
We live in a time where our time and attention are exceptional valuable currency. If we aren’t careful, they will both be easily depleted from us. Getting rid of your smartphone allows you to come back to the basics of what it is to be human. It allows you to have more presence and connection with yourself and others. Which, to me, is really what life is all about to begin with. Connection with All, others, and Self. If you are curious, take a shot. You don’t have much to lose. In fact, you have so very much to gain.