You've probably felt the nagging urge to reach into your pocket to check your texts, emails and social media updates, even during times when you should be unplugged: weekends, weddings, vacations, and even funerals.
Mobile technology provides an array of benefits, but the need to feel connected at all times can be so overpowering that you harm your mental health.
While you may know this from personal experience, a growing body of scientific research shows that spending time offline is not only good for you, but is essential to helping you solve problems and complete tasks.
According to Daniel J. Levitin, a professor and researcher at McGill University, human brains alternate between two modes of consciousness: (1) the task-positive network, which helps you get things done, and (2) the task-negative network, which functions when you daydream or let your mind wander.
Balancing between the two is essential to completing tasks and coming up with creative solutions to complex life problems. When you're constantly toggling between Facebook, email and texts, however, your brain has to divide its limited resources. This can ruin your attention span and your ability to make distinctions between what is important and what isn't. In short, you don't spend enough time in either mode for your brain to be effective.
What to do? Levitin's piece in the New York Times has a suggestion: