NEW YORK – If any doubt remains in your mind that we are, in fact, a society addicted our smartphones, stop what you’re doing and simply take a look around.
There’s a pretty good chance that the majority of the people around you staring down at their palms, scrolling Twitter feeds or engrossed in texting conversations — headphones optional. And when you think of the last time you were in the same position, it may be just a few seconds ago.
What would happen if one day, instead of succumbing to this sensory overload by default, we chose to unplug for several brief moments during the day? If we cut the cord tethering our hands to our smartphones and looked up, what would we see?
Here are 10 things you miss by constantly starting down at your smartphone.
What silence sounds like.
Stopping your fingertips and listening to the sounds of your natural environment. The only chirping and buzzing you’ll hear will come from the birds, the bees and the sounds of the city — and it could be pretty blissful.
Just how good that morning coffee really tastes.
You might be surprised how much more your taste buds react to that first sip of Joe as you head off to the office when you’re fully focused on the taste rather than checking your emails simultaneously. A deep inhale of the aroma alone could be enough to help you really wake up and smell the coffee.
Your own thoughts, right now, in the present moment.
When you stop answering emails, texting your best friend and seeing how many likes your latest status received on Facebook, you’ll find yourself alone with your own thoughts. Take this time to let your thoughts wander and pay attention to the activity of your own mind, without judging or controlling. Practicing a little mindfulness, each day can help keep you calm, centered and connected to yourself and others.
The “don’t walk” pedestrian sign.
Walking while texting could have consequences far more severe than tripping on the sidewalk. Accidents caused by texting and walking now outnumber those from texting and driving.
The joy of a nice meal.
Instead of consuming your food through an Instagram filter, keep your smartphone away from the table. Without that distraction, you’ll be able to appreciate the venue’s aesthetic, your meal’s mouthwatering aroma, and how your food actually tastes.
The ever-changing beauty of the seasons.
If there was ever a time to appreciate Mother Nature, it’s when the chill of Winter is fading into the beautiful blooms and glowing greenery of Spring. Stop and smell the roses.
The company of loved ones.
Whether you’re on vacation, spending a sunny Saturday afternoon outside or simply watching television at home together, leave your phone out of the mix. Even if you’re not engaged in a deep conversation, signaling that you’re available and approachable is likely to inspire more memorable moments than when you’re zoning out with a game of Candy Crush.
The pure joy of small children.
Take a pause to watch children playing, listen to their laughter and appreciate how their creative, uninhibited minds work. Who knows, maybe you’ll be tempted to make time for a little more play in your own life.
The latest installation of graffiti art on your block.
Street art can be a rich source of everyday inspiration, so make sure you take the time to stop and appreciate it. It could inspire a creative idea, spark an emotional reaction or simply make your walk that much more interesting. Plus, the daily transformations will never cease to amaze you.
Someone telling you that they care.
It’s likely that you’ve been caught staring at your phone while someone is speaking to you at some point or another. Guilty as charged. But next time, consider the importance of what they might be telling you, how much you actually want to hear it, and how badly they want to be heard. That unread text message can wait.