To Sharpen Your Mind, Try Taking Some Device-Free Quiet Time

If the only quiet time you experience during your day is at night, it may be time to reconsider adding some restful time during the day. We know you have a million emails, texts, and calls to check, but taking a break from your devices comes with some important benefits. Don't worry; everything will work again after it's been unplugged — including you.

Do Not Disturb

Quiet time doesn't have to mean just sitting and staring into the void; it's anything that doesn't involve technology or social interaction. Quiet time is self-care, taking time for yourself away from the world. That could include reading a book, journaling, or heading out into nature for a hike. Of course, it can also mean sitting in silence for a few minutes, just to recharge between meetings or phone calls.

There are some powerful benefits to powering down like this. Disconnecting from technology, especially social media, can help quiet your mind and cut down on feelings of jealousy, envy, and loneliness. Research shows that visiting sites like Facebook can make you feel worse than before you logged on. Another study found that just a 5-day break from Facebook was enough to lower people's levels of the stress hormone cortisol. By unplugging for a certain amount of time, you'll appreciate the things around you and stop comparing yourself to everyone else. This in itself will make you a happier person. No wonder that studies have shown that meditation and other quiet-time practices can help soothe symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Quiet time can also help you discover what matters most in your life. In our rat-race world, you may find it difficult to take a step back and reflect on the events of the past week. It's healthy to take quiet time to put things in perspective. Your brain needs time to renew itself and process the information it just received from the day.

Analog Mind

Quiet time can also sharpen your mind. Downtime is critical to reaching your full mental capacity. Research shows that mental rest and reflection can boost learning and memory, and other studies back its ability to get the creative juices flowing. Instead of just trying to get everything done quickly, be mindful of how much your brain can handle and take breaks. There's a reason that some of history's greatest minds always made time for a walk.

If you do nothing else, though, make bedtime quiet time. It's easy to go to sleep reading social media and check your phone immediately upon waking, but that leads to negative consequences. Studies show that people who spend the most time on their phones spend the least time sleeping, and have lower-quality sleep when they do get shut-eye. Regardless of when you do it, it's important to spend some time away from your devices. Your mind deserves some quiet time.

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Read Adam Alter's "Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping us Hooked" to understand exactly what your devices are doing to you. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

Written by Annie Hartman August 3, 2018

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