Addiction is harmful but so many people don’t realize an addiction when it’s happening. It’s even harder to recognize addiction when billions of people are doing it effortlessly.
I’m not talking about smoking, overeating or drinking too much alcohol, but I am talking about something equally addictive, and possibly just as harmful.
I’m talking about your smartphone addiction.
Did you know that the average person checks her phone 110 times a day? That’s crazy!
Here are some more statistics that might surprise you about cell phone addiction:
- Three-quarters of people check their phone first thing when they wake up.
- 1 in 3 smartphone users wakes in the night to check their phones (it’s 50 percent for people 18-24).
- Researchers found high mobile phone use was associated with stress and sleep disturbances for women.
- The same study found that high mobile phone use was associated with sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression in men.
- Long periods of cell phone use cause you to arch your neck and hold your body in a strange posture. This can lead to chronic back pain.
Look, I’m not suggesting that cellphones are bad and that you should give them up. It’s not realistic and they’re very beneficial in a lot of cases.
I carry mine daily but I am saying to become aware of how often you’re using it and how it might be harming parts of your life.
Recent studies have linked social networking to depression and anxiety. Since 2010, around the time when most people got smartphones, searches on Google for depression and anxiety rose incrementally. Here’s how to tell if you have a problem and how you can solve it.
5 Phone Addiction Warning Signs
It wasn’t until I became an entrepreneur in 2017 that I realized just how much I was on my phone. When I went from a 9-5 to earning every dollar on my own, I realized what a time suck it is.
Here’s how you know you might have a problem with your phone:
- You check your phone in the middle of the night. Seriously, what app will help you sleep better (other than a meditation app)?
- You text-walk. This happens to a lot of us but if you’re running into people and missing out on life because you’re looking down, you might have a problem.
- You can’t help but use your phone when face to face with others. Do you fear real-world conversations and instead choose to watch a video or scroll through social media?
- Your phone is your constant bathroom companion. Do you really need it in there all the time?
- You get anxious when you forget your phone. Think back to the last time you left your phone somewhere. Even if you knew where you left it and you’re still anxious, this might mean a dependency problem.
7 Ways to Take Control of Phone Addiction & Take Back Your Life
1. Acknowledge You Are In Control
First off, who’s in charge, you or your phone? You of course! The reason you’re checking your phone so much is that you’re in the habit of checking your phone.
Any habit, whether good or bad, is hard to break as your brain sees habits as a way of survival. Obviously, checking your phone 100X a day or smoking a pack of cigarettes isn’t a good habit but your brain doesn’t realize that.
It’s up to you acknowledge you are in control first off. Then, use the other steps below to change your habits.
2. Get Rid of Apps | Phone Addiction
How many apps on your phone are actually helping you become more successful in life? Most likely, apps are just sucking time away from working towards your goals and dreams.
One app that might be worth downloading is one that tracks your usage. This way you can figure out which apps are taking up the most of your precious time.
For example, Instagram now lets you know how much time you spend on the app within your setting. Sometimes, I look back and am appalled I spend so much time on there mindlessly scrolling.
If you’re using social media too much, make sure you’re following motivational pages or limiting your time to certain parts of the day.
3. Turn Off Notifications
Notifications are one of the biggest distractions that are killing your productivity. Whether its email, Facebook, or something else, notifications can make it nearly impossible to stay focused.
Because one notification can lead you to email, social media or texting. Turn off all notifications and I can almost guarantee your phone time will go down a ton.
And your productivity will skyrocket!
4. Take Short Phone Free Vacations
Remember, right now you’re in the habit of checking your phone frequently. But with a few tweaks, you can learn to live without it.
Start by taking a mini phone vacation by putting it in a drawer for an evening or 3-4 hour chunk of time. Tell people that you regularly communicate with that you’re taking a phone break and I’m sure they will understand.
Learn to live without it for a few hours and you will find time for other things you love doing. And not find yourself as dependent on your device.
5. Pay Attention | Phone Addiction
Not only is your phone robbing you from other things in life, sometimes its extremely dangerous. People die every year from taking selfies, looking down on their phone at crosswalks and texting and driving.
Don’t let your phone ruin your life. Be mindful of when you are using it and make sure you’re not endangering yourself or your others!
6. Don’t Take It To Dinner
Unless you’re a food blogger who needs to take pictures of your meal for work, leave it in the car or at home. It’s amazing how much more present you will feel and how you can focus on a real conversation.
If you must take it to the meal, make sure to leave it in your pocket or purse. Even having it on the table is a subconscious reminder that it’s there and will make it easy to check for notification.
7. Set a Digital Detox Alarm
Each night, at 9 pm I have an alarm on my phone go off. At that point, I switch to airplane mode or leave it in another room until 8am the next morning.
Friends and family have learned that I’m basically unavailable during those times. If you can’t do this, make sure to at least take an hour off at night and in the morning to give your eyes and brain a rest.
Final Thoughts on Your Phone Addiction
Hopefully, these tips can help you live a much better life with less phone time involved. Remember, you run the device, it doesn’t run you.
If you’re finding yourself struggling, don’t’ beat yourself up. You’re not alone.
The people who create them intentionally make them addicting so you stay on them longer. Start using some of these strategies and I promise you can beat phone addiction and will love your new life.