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Addiction to Your Phone

Addiction to your phone – Our phones have become massively important to us in our everyday lives. I am of an age where I can remember leaving the house without a phone, using payphones and prepaid phone cards. I can remember adverts on TV telling us how technology companies were working on making devices that we could view good quality videos on.

In the last twenty years technology has advanced dramatically, from a phone that we could only text and call on to one where we can text, call, facetime, do our banking, buy and sell things, watch videos, communicate instantly with people all over the world and much more.

Our phones are a portal into another reality or dimension, that is immediate, it can be helpful to us in so many ways, to have one thing that can help us run our lives, connect us to others and provide us with all the information we will ever need is startling and amazing. However, our relationship with our phones has evolved from being a tool to being an extension of ourselves, we use it to make connections with others and the world, to express ourselves and to get feedback about ourselves. It has become a source of positive or negative reinforcement, we are turning to it with more frequency for reactions to inform us about ourselves, a way to pass time, to soothe ourselves, to help us solve our problems and for guidance if we are stuck.

Like most things in life mobile phones can be positive and negative, it is a tool that can serve us and make us feel sad and stressed. In order to make sure that the balance between the positive and negative doesn’t tip towards the negative and stay there, we may need to develop boundaries around how we use our phone and our relationship to it.

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Below are some ideas about how you can start to change your relationship with your phone, and make sure that it is positive rather than negative.    

  • Review the apps on your phone and get rid of the ones you rarely use or don’t use often.
  • Clear your home screen of all but essential apps – you may put them on a different page or just allow them to sit with in all the apps, but make sure that if there are apps you find problematic they are not in easy reach, or they are not on your phone at all.
  • Turn off notifications to all apps except essential ones. (This is something I did and I noticed a real difference in how much I used my phone, or was drawn to pick it up.)
  • Are your work emails on your personal phone. If so can you take them off, or make sure you sign out when you are not working.
  • If you are going to keep your social media – review your accounts unfollow or unfriend anyone you don’t know or that you find difficult or don’t enjoy.
  • Look at your contacts are there people there that you would benefit from deleting their contact information or blocking them.
  • Take a sabbatical from your phone. Make a commitment to yourself to stay off social media for a period of time, or for parts of the day. Limit yourself to a certain amount of time at a certain time of day.
  • Consider using airplane mode more or do not disturb to take mini breaks from your phone, from people contacting you or from notifications.
  • Consider keeping your phone in a certain place when you are at home. Plugged in, for instance in the kitchen (even if its not charging). Treat it like a landline when you are at home.
  • Use a phone that isn’t a smart phone. It might be that you are not able to put in boundaries around your phone and that you have to take more drastic action. One possibility would be to get a cheap phone that doesn’t connect to the internet. Put your smart phone away for a while and just use a phone that can text or call.
  • Make a commitment to and practice doing things or activities without your phone. For instance.
    • Traveling on the bus
    • Standing in a queue
    • Waiting for an appointment
    • Having a cup of coffee in a café
    • Walking down the street
    • Watching tv
    • Waiting for a friend in a restaurant
    • Being a passenger in a car

What would it be like to do all of the above without your phone? Simply paying attention to your surroundings and yourself? How would things be different for you? How would you feel?

Your phone can be of great benefit to you and add a great deal to your life, it can also take a lot away and cause a lot of mental distress. If you need help getting the balance right you might want to speak to a professional. Whatever you are struggling with sometimes there is no substitute for speaking to a professional. If you are struggling with any issue you might find it beneficial to speak to a professional. If you would like formal help and would like to make an appointment with Paul, please call Paul on 07843 813 537 or fill in the form on the Contact Page, if he doesn’t answer he is probably in a session, please leave him a message and he will call you back as soon as he can.

Other Online Resources

7 Proven Ways to Break Your Cell Phone Habit

Signs and Syptoms of Cell Phone Addiction

7 Things to Know if Your’re Addicted to Your Phone

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