If you’ve ever felt that sudden panic when you discover you don’t have your phone? You’re probably like most people in that it invariably happens within a few minutes of sitting down for a moment of peace. It’s so common to search for our phones for the stretches in between work or when we “have nothing to do,” because, let’s be honest, unlocking our phone satisfies our constant need for everything from communication, entertainment, and information.
It’s now certainly the norm for some to treat their phones almost as a third party among friends and family, but one might question whether this one-way attachment is healthy, or symptomatic of an addiction. Here are four signs you have a phone addiction, and if you do, how you can break it!
Withdrawal when cell phone or network is unreachable
What distinguishes people with a true cell phone addiction from those who spend a lot of time on their phone is a feeling of veritable withdrawal when they do not have access to their cell phone. This could manifest in the form of anger, depression, irritability, restlessness, and tension.
Losing sense of time
Another characteristic of those who are addicted to their phones is that they spend an inordinate amount of time on it, but without realizing how much time has passed.
Cell phone use impacts social life
A defining feature of those who have a psychological dependence on their cell phone is that they allow their cell phone use to negatively impact some sphere of their life. This could be getting a ticket for texting while driving or ignoring your friend to check social media.
Using the phone feels like a drug
Phone addicts use their phone like a drug. This means they use it as a mediator when they’re bored, when they’re tired, when they’re sad, or in any other negative state. They need to use their phone more and more to achieve the same desired effect, so they’ll check their phone even without it vibrating. When they try to “quit” this habit, they may experience many failed attempts at giving it up.
How to break up with your phone
So you’ve identified the problem, how do you kick it? There’s never an easy method to giving up any kind of addiction, but admitting you have a problem that needs attention is the first step to overcoming it. Some other helpful tips include:
- Don’t bring your phone to bed; use an alarm clock instead.
- Turn off or customize notifications to minimize phone usage.
- Remove apps like Facebook. You can check it later on a computer if you really need it!
- Put your phone on airplane mode to reduce the temptation of checking your phone.
- Keep your phone off the table/desk/chair/floor or wherever you’re spending meal times to put in face time with real people.
- Turn off your email when you don’t need it.
- Set up a digital schedule for when you will allow yourself to be on your phone. Set an alarm if it helps to regulate your time.
Of course technology is great, it keeps us connected to what matters. Just don’t let your dinner get cold while you look up whether you have a problem with your devices.