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How to Turn Your Old Phone Into a Happiness Booster

These days, by the time you’re ready to upgrade to a new phone, your old phone has limited or no monetary value left. (I mean unless you’re an Apple fanboy/fangirl who upgrades every year).

What if there was a way to prevent your old smartphone from becoming e-waste, while simultaneously boosting your happiness and focus, getting better sleep, and becoming more productive?

Okay, first, I’d like to recommend you get your old phone out now, and plug it in to charge. When you’re done, you’re going to have a fantastically powerful tool that will touch on multiple aspects of your life.

I’d run into a conundrum. This was when I’d just started charging my phone in the living room, but I was doing a guided meditation right before bed. I was strict about not having the phone in the bedroom, because I was ready to not waste another morning doom scrolling and reading emails before I got out of bed. But the meditations were really helping me sleep.

So I would go lie down in the living room and do my meditation, then go back to the bedroom to sleep. This was an improvement over my previous bedtime routine of scrolling eBay for hours finding the best deals on shoes I was never going to buy, but it had a pretty obvious flaw…

I would either fall asleep on the living room floor or I’d have to avoid falling asleep so I could get up and get in bed. It helped me to relax and unplug for the day for sure, but I wanted better.

So I had an apparent requirements conflict that I needed to solve. I realized that it wasn’t the phone that was the problem, it was the apps. Email, social media, basically anything on the internet, even text messages serve as a distraction that pulls you away from your attempts to wind down.

I could have a phone in the bedroom, so long as it didn’t do pretty much any of the things that smartphones do.


Because I just wanted it to play meditations on Insight Timer.

I was going on 5 strong years with my Samsung Galaxy and I’d been eyeing a new phone for quite a while, the battery was only lasting about 4 hours between charges. So this gave me a reason to buy a new phone, while feeling good that I’d found a use for my old phone.

Here’s what I now have on my old phone:

Meditation — Insight Timer Yoga — Down Dog Notes — Google Keep (just in case I have an idea in bed) Music Controller — Sonos

There’s still some bloatware that I’ve hidden off the home screen, but every app that I’ve kept is very specific to the things I want to use it for. Everything else has been deleted. And this is easy because I have my real phone with all the other tools on it, so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. Deleting the internet browser off an Android turned out to be quite difficult, but thanks to the internet (ironic, I know) I was able to scrub that too.

Deleting the browser is important! This might be a little tricky depending on which OS and generation of phone you’re running, especially Android, but you can do it, I believe in you! You might even need to use USB debugging and the command prompt to disable the browser, but that’s just plain fun.

Basically, we’re turning your old phone into a portal through which only nourishing content like yoga and meditation can be accessed. No news. No social media. No games. No energy sucks. So here’s what you need to do, in three easy steps: Step 1 Delete every app you can other than meditation, yoga, and maybe notes and a music controller (if you have speakers in the bedroom you want to control) Step 2 Hide any bloatware that can’t be deleted off the home screen Step 3 Fall asleep easier, wake up less anxious, feel better all day So there you have it. Not only are you keeping an electronic device out of the landfill, you’re also taking better care of yourself and using tools to make it easy to form good habits. I’ll call that a win. Crazy sidenote — my Galaxy is now over 6 years old, and the battery lasts about 3 days. To be fair, I use it two or three times a day for half an hour, usually with the screen off, to listen to a meditation or do yoga, but still, I’m impressed. And if I really needed to, I could plug it in 24/7 since it never leaves the bedroom.

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