Battling addiction to our phones, the internet, and social media feels like an impossible feat in our digital culture today. We’re estimated to check our phones over 2,500 times every day, with the most extreme users looking at their apps and messaging their friends over 5,000 times a day. The best way to overcome addiction is sometimes to quit cold turkey, but since our lives are tied to our phones that’s a hard method for people to adopt. As someone who relies on their phone for nearly everything to function during the day, I’ve gathered the best tips in my experience that helped wane my addiction to using my phone. While you’ll definitely feel the urge to monitor every incoming buzz, I promise that the mental clarity and peace of mind that staying off your phone brings will be totally worth it!
- Millions of people say that fighting addiction to their smartphones is extremely difficult, but it doesn’t have to be if you make small changes every day. When surveyed, the majority of people agreed that it was “generally OK” to be glued to their smartphones doing mundane things like while walking down the street, commuting, or waiting throughout the day. While these moments don’t seem important, you could be missing the opportunity to soak in your natural environment and form new connections with people around you. Even just timing yourself for ten minutes to stay off the phone a few times a day will allow yourself to unplug from the constant notifications that never stop.
- Social media can suck you in. It’s best to not get too caught up with your Instagram and Twitter feeds, as attractive as they are. According to a pioneer study presented by a professor at Korea University recently, researchers found that spending too much time on such platforms led to chemical imbalances in the brain. Individuals who were addicted to their smartphones had much higher levels of depression, anxiety, impulsivity, and insomnia as well. Those are alarming symptoms from just staring at a screen if you ask me. If you’re spending a lot of time thinking about your follower count, feel nervous not checking your feeds every hour, or can’t live without watching each new story from your friends, you might need a serious reality check.
- Support groups provide great accountability. If you’ve felt like you can’t shake the strong urge to get off your device, seeking social forums online or groups in person are amazing to connect with people going through the same experience. Together, you can talk about why you have such an intense dependency on social media or checking messages and develop realistic ways to decrease it. You also will benefit from the feeling alone throughout the process, as research has found that the best results come from creating collaborative goals within a group and sticking closely to them. You’ll be less likely to give up as you won’t want to let down peers who are counting on you to succeed.
- Turn off the sound. Constantly hearing a ding or incoming call only warrants the need to immediately check your phone. There’s nothing wrong with responding to a family member or friend, but once you’re already on the device you’ll be pulled into checking other apps, Facebook videos, and trending Snapchat filters while you’re at it. Before you know it, several minutes can pass by without even realizing it. Once you put your phone on silent, you’ll be able to concentrate on your present environment better. If you’re with another person, they’ll greatly appreciate feeling more valued as you can pay more attention to what they have to say. No one likes that guy or girl in the room who is constantly scrolling through their feet while something important is being discussed.
- Utilize night mode once it’s late. By the time it gets closer to going to bed, turning your phone on this mode will disable any incoming notifications from disturbing your peace, focus, and most importantly, your needed sleep. Not only will you feel so much better by being well rested, but you won’t feel the drag of checking social media every ten minutes as you’re trying to drift away to sweet dreams. Studies actually prove that having the bright smartphone light in our face at night biologically prevents us from being primed for feeling tired enough to sleep as well. Treat your body well and unplug for its own sake!
Internet Addiction Self Help
If you need more resources to overcome addiction to your smartphone and social media, just doing some research online will you give you more than enough health reasons to deplug. From sleeping better, being less stressed, and having a great peace of mind, there are many benefits that come about as your phone is away in your pocket.