25 May How to become less addicted to your phone
For most of us, our smartphones have almost become an extra limb. Our phone habits have changed dramatically since the first iPhone was introduced in 2007. It’s hard to remember how we got by without the internet in our pocket – but we did! While we wouldn’t be without them entirely, we believe that we’re only just beginning to uncover what our phone addiction could be doing to us. We’re better connected than ever, but the social media apps we flick through on our phones have been proven to wreak havoc with our mental health. Instagram was recently named the worst culprit for lowering self-esteem in young people. In fact, we believe, our phones often make us more anti-social. Why do we text mid-conversation at dinner with friends? And when did eye-contact become optional? Plus, as the pre-frontal cortex isn’t fully developed until we’re 25, what is excessive screen time doing to young brains? A recent study shows that every additional 30 minutes of hand-held screen time is linked to a 49% increased risk of expressive speech delay in children under two.
We’re concerned about these questions. Not because we think the world would be better off without technology – that couldn’t be further from the truth! In reality, we believe that our balance with technology has become out of kilter. Our digital devices should help us out, make us ‘smart’ (it’s in the name!), but there is a line. And once this line of moderate use is crossed, we’re putting our health and happiness at risk. So, what can we do? We’re sharing some great ways to break your phone addiction.
Tips on how to become less addicted to your phone
Enjoy phone-free meals
There’s nothing worse than being in a restaurant and looking over to see a couple glued to their phones, not uttering a word! Is that the state of modern day romance? Or friendship? When you’re out with friends and loved ones, we encourage you to try phone-stacking. Place all your phones face-down on the table in a pile and whoever picks up theirs first has to get the next round! Make an effort to leave your phone out of sight when at the dinner table, especially during family meals.
Ban your smartphone from your bedroom
Another simple step to help you break your smartphone addiction is to ban your smartphone from your bedroom. We have written a lot about sleep and digital devices because we know just how disruptive they can be. The specific type of blue light emitted from our phones keeps us feeling alert, making it more difficult to fall asleep. As poor sleep has been linked to poor mental health and a vicious circle of anxiety, swap your smartphone for a more relaxing bedtime ritual.
Turn off push notifications and sound alerts
The attention span of a goldfish? Or worse? The human attention span has actually fallen below that of a goldfish in the last ten years. We think this has a lot to do with the immediate nature of smartphones and our 24/7 modern culture. Everything is a mere tap away, even food and taxis. This also means that we’re under pressure from a constant avalanche of notifications and distractions, which our ‘always-on’ culture dictates we attend to immediately (you don’t have to, by the way). So, another great way to break your smartphone addiction and keep focused is to turn off all push notifications and sound alerts. This allows you to get on with the task in hand!
Go out without your phone
This is a big challenge for most of us. It’s something we spoke about during our 30-day digital detox challenge, which incidentally is another good way to kick-start your digital detox. But, it’s oddly freeing you go out without your phone. It gives your brain the time to wander, to breathe and become creative again. Go for a walk, take in your surroundings and actually enjoy them. Nature is a great antidote to screentime burnout!
Break your phone addiction with a digital detox
Feeling inspired to overcome your phone addiction? Like anything, it takes time and effort but the impact on your wellbeing will be well worth your perseverance. Plus, if you have a family, it’s good to teach a balanced relationship with technology from a young age. If you want to take further steps to combat digital addiction, why not try our 5:2 digital diet? Or join us on one of our unique digital detox retreats.