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30 Ways To Do The Things You Love Without Your Smartphone

03/16/2014 11:18 am ET | Updated Mar 19, 2014
Tara Moore via Getty Images

In our tech-obsessed culture, our smartphones seem to be as essential as our wallets when we're heading out the door -- and when we accidentally leave home without ours, panic ensues.

But what if we started doing it on purpose?

Before there were gadgets stocked with newsfeeds, emails and text messages, there were these activities. Next time you're looking something to do -- device free -- take a look at the list below.

1. Paint or color something.

painting

You wouldn't want your watercolors to splatter your screen, right? Before there was the Draw Something app, there was a coloring book and a canvas -- and that activity you did daily as a kid may help ease stress and anxiety as an adult.

2. Take a nap without using your phone as an alarm.
Studies have shown that stashing your phone under the pillow can disrupt your sleep, anyway.

3. Go for an iPod-free run.
Let nature be your soundtrack this time.

4. Log some one-on-one time with your pet over the ones on YouTube.

golden retriever

As addicting as funny cat videos are, there are more benefits to hanging with your real-life pets. A recent study found that 20 percent of pet owners would give up cuddling with their pets over giving up their smartphones (woof!). Spend an afternoon with your furry friend -- research has proven that owning a pet can significantly lower your stress.

5. Take a break from binge-watching Netflix and head to a matinee movie or play instead.

6. Put pen to paper.
Studies have shown that writing down what you're grateful for has a positive impact on overall happiness and the physical act of writing can even help you learn better. Instead of typing a text message on a mini keyboard, try it the old fashioned way.

7. Go on a hike and use a paper map to help you find your way.

hike

8. Perfect your Baked Alaska with a recipe from an actual cookbook.

9. Go to dinner with your friends.
Food is meant to be enjoyed, not just Instagrammed. Next time you go out to dinner with your friends, try the phone stacking game. The first to pick up their phone during the meal also picks up the tab.

10. Read an actual newspaper.

11. Play some brain games on paper.
Exercise your mind with some sudoko or a crossword puzzle -- it may even make you more productive and boost your creativity.

12. Get lost in a a real book instead of a Kindle.

reading book

Reading has numerous brain benefits. Getting wrapped up in a good story can reduce stress, may help you sleep better and even may make you more empathetic.

13. Flip through a regular magazine (not one on Flipboard).

14. Go for a drive with no particular destination or GPS device.

15. Thumb through old photo albums.
And no, not the albums you have on Facebook. Studies have found that a little nostalgia can actually be a good thing. Reflecting on the past can boost your optimism for the future because it raises your self-esteem, according to a Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin study.

16. Indulge in a little mindfulness meditation.

meditation

Rather than zoning out by tuning into your phone, go deeper with a meditation session. As "Nightline" anchor Dan Harris says, meditation is "a bicep curl for your brain." Meditating for just a little bit each day can ease emotional stress and even strengthen your immune system.

17. Capture photos or a video using a real camera.

18. Pick up an instrument.
By stepping away from the Rock Band and grabbing a real guitar, you could be doing wonders for your wellness. Learning to play an instrument can reduce stress, is linked to better sound processing and helps keep your memory sharp. Don't know how to play one? Good news: it's never too late to learn.

19. Play tourist for the day in your own city using a real guidebook.

20. Grab a drink with an old friend from college.

drinks with friends

Make it a point to catch up in-person with those who you've fallen out of touch with -- it'll give a whole new meaning to the word "FaceTime."

21. Watch a sunrise or a sunset without trying to capture it.

22. Take a day trip to a town close to you, sans Google maps.

23. Have a bonding day with your kids or parents.
Forget Skype for a day. Our relationships are valuable and it's important to strengthen them away from our screens. According to research published in the Journal of Socio-Economics, people's social connections are worth $131,232 a year in terms of life satisfaction.

24. Experience Spotify in real life by going to a concert.

25. Make a scrapbook.
All those pictures you do take on your smartphone have to go somewhere besides Instagram, right?

26. Organize your real desktop.

organized desk

Ultra-organized people know the value of a clean work station. And since those ever-tidy individuals tend to be optimistic, have a can-do attitude and are always prepared, perhaps it's time to stash the phone for a little while and get to sorting.

27. Brush up on your math skills.
Have your brain be your tip calculator the next time you go to dinner.

28. Forgo Google translator and learn a few new phrases in another language.

29. Star gaze.

starry sky

Since the introduction of stargazing apps, many of us seem to forget that we can observe the stars without using our phones to identify the constellations. Pick a quiet night to just lie underneath the sky and pick out the star patterns you remember from high school.

30. Put together a jigsaw puzzle instead of playing Bejeweled.

Did we miss any? Share your ideas for activities you enjoy doing without your phone in the comments below.

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