5 Tips to Help You Break Your Phone Addiction
How long do you think it takes for the average work email to be opened? Ten minutes? Three or four minutes? One minute?
Nope. Six seconds.
That’s right, we are so glued to our phones that the majority of work emails are sent and opened at the other end within the time it takes two people to form instinctual first impressions upon meeting.
Even more shocking, studies have shown that many teenagers have difficulty deciding whether they would prefer a broken bone or a broken phone. In fact, 80 percent of teens check their phones hourly (and you can be sure it’s not just a quick peek) while college students spend an astounding average of 9 hours on their phones a day.
This is serious. Not only are we whiling away precious human hours on these devices, but phone addiction can be harmful to your health. The slouched stance we take to look down at our screens can cause long-term neck deformation and injury. Obsessing over social media can harm the psyche, leading to lowered self-esteem, a weakened sense of self, a poor self-image and neuroticism. Phone addiction can lead to sleep disturbance, anxiety, stress, depression and lowered libido.
We need to break free from the technological hold these devices have over us. Here are some tips to help you reduce your phone time and improve your reality:
Set an Instagram timer. There is nothing wrong with enjoying social media, but have you ever tried to “quickly” check your feeds, only to discover an entire hour has past? Social media sucks us in, so it is important to drop an anchor in reality. Set a 5-10 minute timer on your phone when you get a hankering to check your social media accounts. When the alarm sings, it’s time to get off. Let’s be honest, you weren’t looking at anything that important anyways.
Don’t snuggle with Siri. We are too close to our phones all the time. We sleep with them at arm’s reach, we keep them in our pockets, and sometimes we even carry them into the bathroom. Practice keeping a little distance between yourself and your devices. If it is not at arm’s reach, you will be less likely to give in to the urge to check in with it constantly.
Take a phone-free hour. I don’t care what you do during this time—read, hike, bask in the sun, have a cookie. The important thing is to actually turn off your phone for one hour. Yes, you can keep it on hand in case of an emergency, but power it down. Re-acclimate yourself with phone-free time.
Reprioritize manners. There is nothing more upsetting to me than people who leave their phones on the table during coffee meetings, drinks or meals. It symbolizes that the person values the phone above the current company they keep. If it rings, bings or whistles, one cannot help but look at it, taking attention away from precious human-to-human interaction. Sure, if you want to show someone a picture or funny text, whip out your phone for a second. But, make sure it slides back out of sight when you’re done. It is widely accepted but utterly rude to do otherwise.
Delete time sucking apps. You know those games on your phone that are really menial, but you can’t stop playing them? Yeah, those need to go. Time is a precious thing. If you are spending an hour every day unlocking new levels of angry birds on your phone, it is time for some spring app cleaning.
There is more to life than your phone. It may be tough at first, but ditching your phone obsession will help you start embracing beautiful, real life interactions again.