Mobile phones are an indispensable tool for most people nowadays. But sadly, smartphones have stopped being just useful tools and have grown into an addiction for many people. Overuse of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices can negatively affect your health, your relationships, and your psyche.
While breaking a smartphone addiction can be tough, don’t worry. Admitting to yourself that you have a problem is the first – and for many, the most difficult – step.
If you aren’t sure whether you have a problem or not, the most common signs of smartphone addiction to look out for are:
- A habit of keeping your phone on you at all times. Pay attention to where and when you take your phone with you. If your smartphone is always in your pocket or in your hand, even at home, that’s a sign that you could be addicted.
- Your friends or family notice that you constantly have your phone in your hand. Talk to your friends, your family or your co-workers and ask them how often they see you with your phone. If you’re almost never seen without your phone, that’s another sign of addiction.
- A compulsion to check your phone at all times of the day. A desire to check your phone constantly, even when you know there’s no reason to, is a common sign of addiction. Smartphone addicts are always clamoring for their phones to beep, vibrate or ring.
- If the first and last thing you do every day involves your phone. Lying in bed after you wake up, using your phone, using it throughout the day and then falling asleep with your phone beside you is a classic case of addiction. However, many smartphone addicts don’t notice they’re doing these things.
If you feel that you’re on the road to smartphone addiction, or are already there, don’t worry. Here are a few tips on how you can break your phone habit, starting today.
Declare a “phone-free zone” for yourself
One of the ways in which smartphone addicts feed their addiction is by taking their phone with them wherever they go. One of the signs of addiction is a compulsion to have your phone on your person at all times.
A good way to stop yourself from doing this subconsciously is to declare parts of your home “phone-free zones”. Of course, trying to enforce this with your roommates or family members probably won’t go over very well, so just worry about following this rule yourself.
For example, you can probably agree that having your phone with you in the bathroom isn’t necessary. And yet, you probably take it with you without even batting an eye. Promise yourself that you won’t take your phone with you in the bathroom anymore. If you find that you still do it without noticing, write your rule on a piece of paper and put it up on the bathroom wall. This will be a reminder for you to leave your phone outside.
Use your phone to stop yourself from overusing it
This likely sounds counterintuitive to you, but it’s a way to use the thing that fuels your addiction against it.
Today’s smartphones have such an abundance of features that it’s very easy to get lost in. Only checking Facebook can easily turn into you checking Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and then watching a video or two, or reading an article. And in what felt like five minutes time, you’ve wasted over half an hour on your phone.
But you can use your smartphone’s wealth of features to your advantage here. Simply by setting a countdown timer, you can stop this from happening to you. With a little bit of willpower, you can check your phone for the five minutes you initially set out for and no longer than that.
Don’t quit cold turkey
A mistake many people make, trying to quit any addiction cold turkey is almost guaranteed to end in a relapse. With the exception of a few, quitting anything cold turkey is a bad idea. And while you probably don’t need to follow a comprehensive program to curb your phone use, quitting altogether is impractical and bound to not work. As mentioned before, smartphones are an important tool in this day and age. If you need a smartphone for your job, you can’t obviously quit using yours completely.
But the fact of the matter is, you don’t have to. Curbing your phone habit takes willpower and self-discipline, but you can likely do it without taking extreme measures.
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