The benefits of getting rid of your smartphone include reduced stress, better sleep, improved focus, more free time, and increased privacy and security.
Getting rid of a smartphone is a big decision. In today’s society, almost everything ties back to a phone: communication, GPS, bank accounts, multi-factor authentication, and many others. By disconnecting from the constant barrage of notifications, and social media updates, you can break the always-on habits that smartphone use leads to and retake control of your time. There are many more benefits to getting rid of your smartphone. Today we are going to look at five of them.
Getting rid of your smartphone can lead to reduced stress. The initial withdrawal after getting rid of a smartphone may increase stress levels. Overall putting down your smartphone for good can lead to less stress. “Your cortisol levels are elevated when your phone is in sight or nearby, or when you hear it or even think you hear it.” David Greenfield, professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction. Increased cortisol is a stress response, and the body doesn’t like it. The brain’s response is to check the phone as soon as possible to make the cortisol spike go away
Getting rid of a smartphone altogether eliminates these cortisol spikes. It also usually decreases a person’s time spent on social media. Many studies show that social media use increases levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. One notable study found that a group of people who limited their social media use to 30 minutes per day “showed significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out” compared to the control group. This indicates that more time spent on social media can be detrimental to mental health.
While few people are in the habit of drinking coffee right before going to bed, checking a smartphone one last time before turning in is a common ritual. That habit of checking a phone one more time can be more disruptive to a good night’s rest than caffeine.
Smartphones, tablets, and laptops all emit blue light. They are designed this way so that their screens are visible, even in the sun. In nature, blue light is more present in the morning; it signals the brain that it is time to wake up. In the evening with the setting sun, more red light is present. This cues our bodies to begin winding down for sleep. When our bodies are exposed to blue light before bed, it tricks our brains into thinking it is morning. This throws off the natural sleep-wake cycle also known as our circadian rhythm. A study done in 2002 shows significantly lower melatonin levels in participants exposed to blue light as compared to those exposed to white light. Melatonin is a chemical in the brain that helps regulate the circadian rhythm.
Getting rid of your smartphone can lead to better sleep. This is because your brain isn’t exposed to blue light right before trying to sleep. The content of phone use before bed can also impact sleep. Anything that causes active use of our brains, such as answering emails or scrolling social media, can make it harder for the brain to wind down. The brain stays in an active, problem-solving state long after answering that last email.
Smartphones decrease our ability to focus in a number of ways. First, using a smartphone regularly trains the brain to expect constant stimulation. This makes it difficult to focus on tasks that do not provide immediate rewards. They also provide new, disruptive, notifications, messages, and social media updates, that lead to frequent interruptions and decreased focus. A 2019 study found that, on average, it took participants 23 minutes to refocus on the assigned task after checking their phones.
Getting rid of your smartphone can improve your focus by reducing distractions and overstimulation. With fewer distractions and less temptation to constantly check for updates, it can be easier to concentrate and stay focused on the task at hand. This can lead to improved productivity and a longer attention span overall.
More Free time
It is pretty obvious that spending less time on a smartphone leads to more time available for other activities. But just how much time are we talking about? In 2023 the average person worldwide spent 3.25 hours on their phone each day. Americans used their phones for an average of 5.4 hours daily. That is a lot of time!
Getting rid of your smartphone can give you back hours of time each day to pursue other tasks and projects. Many of us feel like there is not enough time in the day to accomplish everything we want to. This is an easy way to reclaim your time and start doing things that interest you.
Increased Privacy and Security
Both iPhones and Android devices continuously send data, including your exact location, phone number, and internet network details to Apple or Google. Even when idle, smartphones collect and store enormous amounts of personal data, which can be vulnerable to hacking or exploitation. By getting rid of your smartphone, you reduce the tracking and storing of your personal data. Most apps on smartphones require access to a certain amount of personal data; there is no way to opt out of this and still use the apps.
In contrast, “dumb” phones have limited internet capabilities making it difficult for hackers to access personal data through the phone. Without wi-fi capabilities, tracking these phones through a wi-fi network is more difficult. This reduces the amount of personal data collected. Without the ability to download apps, they are less susceptible to malware and other forms of cyberattacks.
Are You Thinking About Getting Rid of Your Smart Phone?
Getting rid of a smartphone can bring many benefits to your life, from reduced stress to increased focus, and better privacy and security. By disconnecting from the constant barrage of information and distractions, you can live a more simple, focused, and peaceful life.
I made the leap and got rid of my smartphone this year. Read about the ones I tried here, and see my comparison of the top three functions I want in a phone. Are you thinking about downgrading your phone? I would love to hear about your journey and the benefits you are looking for in getting rid of your smartphone. Thanks for stopping by!