I’m sure many of you will have encountered this situation: you leave the house without your mobile phone. For many this induces a palpable sense of panic and fear. Many people will turn around, even if it makes them late for work, to go back and get their phone.

How could we get through the day without it? Our mobile devices have become much more than just a phone. In fact the phone ‘application’ on your mobile device is the part that most use the least.

Our mobiles help us feel connected to the world, help us get our work done, help us record and document our lives. It’s amazing how, in conjunction with social media apps, they allow us to connect with old friends, discover unknown connections that make the world seem smaller, more joined up. Somehow friendlier.

Our mobiles are also a portal to the collective knowledge of the human race. Our history, our humour, our desires are all just a few clicks away and can be carried around in the palm of our hands. They contain so much information for us and about us.

They have literally transformed our lives.

So it’s understandable that we feel panicked when we leave them behind, or when we can’t put our hands on them immediately. But there is also a darker more uncomfortable relationship we have with these devices…

They seem to demand our attention on an increasing basis. As much as we love to be connected, many also have this sense that we are staring at our screens too much.

People yearn to detach themselves, and I recently did. Whilst on holiday I switched off all my devices and locked them in the hotel safe. For a whole week I didn’t have access to the news (I am a self confessed news junkie, so it was tough), or social media.

I was unplugged.

And a strange thing happened, the opposite of what I was expecting. Rather than feeling disconnected from the world I felt more connected. Connected to the environment around me, to those around me. I felt better connected to myself, to others, to the world.

I was looking up more. It felt great.

Rather than our mobiles making us feel connected, I think they foster a fear of being disconnected; they make us scared to be without them.

Mobile devices are not a bad thing. I love them, and recognise that you are most likely reading this blog on one. But being unplugged for a week helped shape new habits and reduce the fear of not having my mobile. I can now happily leave the house without it. I can have it in a bag or leave it unattended in another room all night. It’s an amazing piece of technology that I still marvel at, and it is available to me when I want it.

Don’t be afraid to go unplugged occasionally. Try it. Look up and see how much more connected you may actually feel to the world around you.

Image credit: Alex Robert | stocksnap.io

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