According to a study by dscout, people tap, swipe and click their smartphones an average of 2,619 times every day. There have been countless articles focused on the addictions so many of us have to our high-tech gadgets, including our phones, and one poll found that half of teenagers stated that they think they’re addicted to their mobile devices.
Chances are we’re all a little guilty of mobile addiction, whether we’re in the great mountains of Colorado Springs or the beaches of San Diego. We’re always tied to our phones. Nearly a third of those same teens also believe that their parents are addicted too.
If you think you’re addicted to one or more of your high-tech devices, these tips can help you beat that addiction.
Before Picking Up Your Phone, Remind Yourself of a Better Way to Use the Time
Many people pick up their devices as soon as they have an idle moment. If that’s your first impulse, write down a list of other things you could be doing that would be more productive, meaningful or relaxing such as going for a walk, meditating, stretching or even dancing around to some of your favorite tunes. The point is to come up with things that are particularly appealing to you. Then, when you get that impulse to reach for your phone during a quiet moment, take out your list and do something on it instead.
Schedule Relaxation Time Before Bed
In the hour before you go to sleep, take part in bedtime rituals that don’t involve any tech devices. Power them all down as the lights that are emitted from screens, including the television, interferes with the production of the hormone melatonin that sends a signal to the brain that it’s time to sleep. Enjoy the time to read, take a warm bath, drink a cup of herbal tea, stretch and/or other relaxing pursuits instead.
Resist the Urge to Immediately Reach for Technology in the Morning
If you wake up and immediately and check your email, text messages, social media feeds and so on, it’s not the best way to start the day. Enjoy a more productive, happier day by starting your morning doing something like performing light stretches, practicing deep breathing or meditating for 10 minutes. It will all be there waiting for you afterwards.
Turn Off Notifications
Kind of like a slot machine, the notifications that come through on your phone encourage addictive behaviour as it raises dopamine receptors. You continue to reach for that phone every time you hear that alert, and it provides an unpredictable award just like gambling. By shutting off notifications, you’ll be much less likely to continue that behaviour, looking at your phone every few minutes or even more often.
You might want to start following a rule that when you’re home and the weather is decent that you have to go outside for a walk, a bike ride or any other physical activity for at least an hour before you can get on your laptop, table or phone.
Take a Digital Detox Once a Week
We need breaks that give the brain a rest. Ideally you should set one day aside every week to avoid all high-tech gadgets, enjoying a digital detox. Once you do, you might find you feel so much better you’ll want to do it more often.