Are you addicted to your phone?
Do you want to find ways of beating your addiction, and rediscover life with minimal tech?
Even if you don’t necessarily see yourself as being addicted to your phone, it’s very likely that you share some bad habits that phone addicts have.
It could be harming your relationships, your productivity and even causing you some psychological distress.
In this guide, you’ll find out everything you need to know about phone addiction, including what it is and any top tips to beat your cravings.
Let’s dive in.
What is phone addiction?
Phone addiction is when you feel a compulsory need to either check, browse or play games on your phone often.
Sometimes it might be the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do when you go to sleep.
This has resulted in some terrible side effects for many users, such as feeling anxiety when not able to check their phone instantly or to sacrifice real life experiences to satisfy a phone craving.
It is hard, after all, to truly enjoy someone’s company or properly listen to someone when you constantly check your phone. Especially when it might be perceived as rude by your friend, colleague or family member.
According to a survey that was done which targeted young people, 46% of those who were asked would rather have a broken bone than a broken phone.
How could it be affecting me?
Studies have been done to record the adverse effects that phone addiction has on individuals, and most of the results have been that there is significant mental distress to being without a phone.
This includes panic, confusion and isolation, with many students at university levels unable to go a full day without their phone or another electronic device like a laptop.
Aside from the psychological effects of phone addiction, there are also some physical illnesses to consider too.
Firstly, there is a condition called occipital neuralgia which presents as a migraine which has been linked to using a phone too frequently and for too long a period.
Occipital neuralgia is when the nerves that run from your spine to the top of your head become inflamed and constricted. While there isn’t a known ‘cure’ for this nerve damage, you can find treatment in yoga and medication.
Secondly, in 2015 some statistics said that 45% of young people between the ages of 16 and 24 suffer from back pain which is caused by the pressure to the spinal disk.
That is caused by excessive texting, with some reports stating that texting puts 50 pounds of pressure on your spine.
Top 10 tips to beat phone addiction
So now that you know about some of the adverse effects that have an association with phone addiction, I know what you’re thinking.
What can I do?
Let’s take a look at the top 10 tips to beating phone addiction.
1. Start the morning unplugged
Is your phone the first thing that you check when you wake up in the morning?
This can be one of the signs of advanced phone addiction, as it means that your initial thought is that you have to check your messages or your emails.
Instead of looking at your phone, some experts suggest placing your phone in another room or your coat pocket for instance, and spending at least the first 30 minutes of your day building good habits.
This could be exercise like a morning run, yoga, cooking a healthy breakfast or reading the newspaper.
Essentially, starting the morning unplugged until you start work or you are on your way to university for instance.
2. Create no phone zones or times in the day
There have been many ideas when it comes to combating phone addiction during the day, but understandably it can be quite tricky depending on your job.
Especially when many jobs require you to be able to take phone calls on your smartphone.
This can then lead to temptations to recheck your emails, browse your messages or check social media during your breaks.
Why not put your phone in the draw for certain periods of time during the day, especially when you are working on a project?
That can get rid of the temptation to check your phone regularly, which can be distracting and affect your productivity negatively.
There’s nothing wrong with checking your work emails on a semi-regular basis, but some workers check their emails every 60 seconds.
3. Replace bad habits
Did you know that studies say that on average we use our iPhones around 50 to 150 times a day?
That’s a worryingly high number, especially when you consider that there are some simple ways of combating the amount of time you spend on your smartphone.
For instance, it could be useful to leave your phone in another room, so when you go to pick it up to find something to replace it with.
This could be a book, a crossword puzzle or even something as simple as a glass of water.
Replacing bad habits with good habits are a lot easier than trying to cut out a bad habit without anything in its place, as you’ll be struggling to satisfy a craving.
4. Focus on real life
What’s going on in the real world, right in front of you, is almost always going to be more important than what is happening online.
Many personal relationships have suffered because of our increasing addiction to our phones, with meeting up for coffee or having dinner with friends becoming awkward when a phone dings and you claim that you have to answer it.
You might be met with a ‘no problem’, but it’s almost definitely going to leave that other person with the feeling that they are less critical than your text or social media notification.
This is even more true for business meetings, as not only can it be embarrassing to get a stream of dings from Facebook notifications, but it can also come across like you don’t value the meeting.
Instead, try and leave your phone in your desk drawer during meetings, or in your bag when you are out meeting up with your friends.
5. Use apps to manage your phone time
Funnily enough, an app could help you to track and manage the time that you spend on your phone.
The app “Moment” was the invention of an individual who realised that he was losing a lot of time by scrolling through an endless loop of social media channels.
He said that by the time he had checked all of his social media accounts, email and messages, it was time to check them all over again.
This creates a circle that means you suddenly jolt back to reality and realise an hour or two has passed by.
Here are some of the features of using the Moment app.
- Track your smartphone usage
- See which apps you are using the most
- Benefit from coaching sessions to help you cut down your phone time
- Monitor your family’s screen time and establish phone-free timeframes
- Tracks how many times you pick up your phone every day
6. Try the physical version of an app
Instead of using your phone as an alarm, you could try using a standard alarm clock or a radio alarm clock, so you can start the day without needing to check your phone immediately.
Many users might utilise their phones from anything from making notes to checking the date and using things such as the calculator.
There’s no denying that your smartphone has almost every tool that you need which makes it very useful, but unfortunately, this means checking all of your social media channels too.
7. Keep your car a zone with no phones
Using your phone while driving your vehicle is incredibly dangerous for both you, other drivers and pedestrians.
While some people might use their phone for navigation, it would be much better to purchase a SatNav for this specific use instead of utilising a phone.
This is to remove the temptation to look at your phone so that you can leave it in the back seat of your car.
8. Ask your friends and family for help
Asking your family or your friends for help doesn’t necessarily have to be too dramatic, but if they catch you scrolling through Instagram during a family dinner or while you’re out, they can bring you back to reality.
It can help you to stay accountable, as tackling any addiction by yourself can be difficult.
You could also ask a friend to keep hold of your phone while you are out, so you can enjoy the moment without worrying about checking Facebook or Twitter.
9. Use mindfulness
One of the main problems with smartphones is that you are always being kept in the know, whether it’s using your newsfeed to see what your friends are doing, invitations to events or checking work emails.
Therefore, a lot of people worry that when they don’t check their phones, they might be missing out on something important, which is almost never the case.
To combat this problem, some experts suggest trying to do a distracting task like cleaning, reading or exploring a new hobby.
This allows you to shift your focus to something real and tangible, which is better for your health both physically and mentally.
10. Prioritise sleep
Do you find yourself playing a game on your phone late at night, or checking Twitter?
The problem is that you could be physically losing sleep over your phone addiction, which can affect many different factors in your life such as your mental and emotional health.
It can begin to damage your work life and productivity and make you more forgetful.
Try and establish a rule where you stop using your phone or a device such as tablets or computers an hour before you go to sleep.
That can help you to prepare for bed mentally, and it should help you start to separate from your phone addiction.
Do you think you have a phone addiction?
This guide should have answered your questions about this phenomenon, including ways that you can beat this addiction.
Still need a phone for your business activities, maybe ditch the mobile for a fixed phone you can walk away from?