For all the wonderful ways that smartphones make life easier and information more accessible, they're also adding a whole lot of unnecessary distraction to our lives. After all, why walk, sit or simply wait when you could be tweeting or surfing Pinterest at the same time? But the truth is, we're not programmed to be constantly in "go" mode, and this overstimulation can have some seriously negative health impacts, including higher stress levels, lack of focus and creativity, and technology addiction. Our solution? Good old-fashioned boredom.
Taking time to be bored (no, we don't mean spacing out in chem class) and letting yourself pause from friends, obligations, and technology is actually one of the best things you can do for your health. If you're used to keeping yourself constantly occupied, doing nothing may initially make you feel anxious. But slowing down can actually make you more productive in the long-term -- not to mention more creative, happier and less stressed.
Scroll down for five reasons to turn off your phone, clear out your schedule, a give your mind a break by taking the time to simply do nothing.
1. It Will Help You Avoid A Tech Addiction.
Smartphone addiction is a real thing, and it's not pretty. It can cause you to feel upset and anxious when you can't check your phone, make you experience imaginary cell phone vibrations, and it can distract you from the (more important) real people and things that exist around you.
Constant mindless stimulation isn't healthy: Spending too much time using technology and social media has been linked to depression and anxiety, poor academic performance, and poor sleep.
So the next time you have five minutes or a full hour to kill, stick your phone in your bag and kill time the old-fashioned way: By letting boredom take you wherever it wants to, whether it's daydreaming, doodling, or just sitting around.
2. Boredom Can Boost Creativity.
Instead of thinking of boredom as a waste of time, try to look at it as a necessary rest for your brain that can leave your mind feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Giving your mind a break from the constant stimulation of technology allows it to better take in new things and have new thoughts, which can boost creativity. Neuroscience research has even found that daydreaming involves the same processes that govern imagination and creativity. So if you're looking to get more creative, get bored.
3. You Can Discover New Hobbies & Interests.
Think of all the extra time, energy and brain-space that you'll have for new things when you stop trying to fill every moment of your time with mindless activities. If you use the extra energy you have when you're bored to try a new activity, you'll enjoy your time and learn something, whereas if you're just scrolling through Instagram, you won't really have gained anything. Make the most of your time by letting yourself be bored.
4. Doing Nothing Can Help You Cultivate Mindfulness.
Doing nothing is the essence of mindfulness, the practice of focusing one's awareness entirely on the present moment. Even if you don't follow a full mindfulness meditation practice, the research has found significant health benefits of mindfulness, including improved sleep, emotional stability and more success with weight-loss efforts.
5. Unplugging & Recharging Can Relieve Stress.
Heavy cell phone and technology use has been linked to stress, depression and fatigue in young adults. Take some time to unplug and recharge for improved sleep and less stress.
Tell us: Do you ever give yourself time to be bored? Do you find that slowing down helps you feel less stressed? Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet @HuffPostTeen.