Phones are officially taking over. We depend on them for everything ranging from ordering food to finding ourselves a date. As indispensable as they are, some of us have become addicted to mobile phones. Would you believe it if I said an average user touches and swipes his/her mobile 2600 times a day ! 70% of e-mails are read within 6 seconds of their arrival. We average three hours a day on our phones. 10 years ago, that number was just 18 minutes.
Bloated as these numbers may sound – It is indeed alarming how “connected” we are with these little screens.
Addiction would mean indulging in any activity in a manner that disrupts social, occupational or biological functioning. If you are someone who checks their phone first thing in the morning—before even getting out of bed or If you find you’re texting while driving, scrolling indefinitely instead of working on an important assignment, or checking your phone during a date— your phone is interfering with your life and you may very well be addicted to it. Phone addiction isn’t a diagnosable illness yet, however be assured that it will find its way into a diagnostic classification in the coming years. Further more, the constant ringing and dinging speed up life to an uncomfortable pace, beyond a certain point we are left with no option but to be terribly anxious.
The addiction cycle has three phases
1)An anticipation phase – when we are waiting for that ding, or for that funny meme.
2)An intoxication phase – when we are on the phone aimlessly scrolling, finding rewards as we are doing it.
3)A negative affect phase- The guilt that comes forth after a day is wasted starring at a screen.
See if you can identify these phases in your phone usage pattern !
Here are five ways to break your phone addiction !
- Write a diary – Or install one of those apps that record the amount of time you spend on the phone, this will give you perspective. A starting point and a definitive goal.
- Offline hours – Make sure you schedule periods of the day wherein you stay away from any sort of brightly lit screen, tabs, tv and phones included. This means that for at least a few hours everyday, switch off your phone and stay completely offline !
- Disconnect at dusk – Looking at a bright screen while in bed confuses your biological clock. This can lead to all sorts of issues ranging from insomnia to depression ! Make your bed a no phone zone !
- Have dumb phone days or no phone days – Schedule regular off days from the constant dings from your smartphone. Procure a cheap phone with no internet and use it a couple of days a week. It would be even better if you could sneak in no phone days !
- Limit your time on social networks/games – An hour a day or lesser. You may scroll, tweet, post, like, share only during this period, you aren’t allowed to exceed this time limit. Network in real life. Play a sport, pick up a new hobby !
- Back to reality – Learn to be present, enjoy the beauty of life , meet new people, go to new places and do new things. You get one shot at life, you can sit at home scrolling all day, or get up and go do something worthwhile. Your choice.
Set a goal – make a plan – and make it work.
Remember that before you can break out of prison, you need to realize that you are locked up !