Written by Cloé Vaz-Wiggins
Image via Pinterest
Hi, my name is Cloe and I’m addicted to my phone.
I’m also a person, who if I’m being honest, has been in complete denial of this addiction.
Sure, I’m someone who understands how dopamine works, I know I can rely on my phone to provide me with instant gratification and yes, I recognise how much I use it as a means of escape or as a distraction. I also notice the FOMO I’ve felt many times by endlessly scrolling through social media. The thing is, and I suspect this might be the case for many of us, I’m also someone who has to use her phone constantly for work, which leads to using the phone more which in turn, leads to staying on the phone. See the cycle?
I always reach the same conclusion when it comes to bettering or changing some mindset, belief or habit that is usually not the best for me: awareness.
Admitting it. Being aware of it, catching yourself, saying the word, recognising when it becomes a problem if it distracts you from your actual life and truly noticing it. Does it make it harder for you to connect with the people around you? Do you stop listening to someone because you’re on your phone? Do you use your phone as a way of ‘passing’ time?
If it hurts you more than it serves you emotionally you have to become aware of it before you can change it. Until then, it’ll just be something you’ll continue to create excuses for, like I was doing, downplaying it and pretending like is not really an issue, like because it’s your phone, it ‘doesn’t really count’.
But it does count and in the words of the one and only Prince: ‘it’s cool to use to computer, don’t let the computer use you’. Just switch computer for phone to understand why it does very much so, count.
Here are five tips that can help you regain control over your relationship with your phone:
– Set clear boundaries and limits: Establish specific rules for yourself regarding phone usage. Determine how much time you’re willing to spend on your phone each day and stick to it. Use features like screen time limits or apps that can help you track and manage your usage.
– Create phone-free zones and times: Designate certain areas or periods where you keep your phone away or on silent mode. For example, you can make your bedroom a phone-free zone, or set aside dedicated hours each day where you disconnect from your phone to focus on other activities.
– Practice mindful phone usage: Before picking up your phone, pause for a moment and ask yourself if you genuinely need to use it or if it’s just a habit. Be mindful of your intentions and choose consciously when to engage with your device. Additionally, avoid mindless scrolling by engaging in activities that bring you joy or personal growth instead.
– Find alternative activities: Identify hobbies, interests, or activities that you enjoy and that don’t involve your phone. This could include reading, exercising, pursuing a creative outlet, spending time with friends and family, or engaging in outdoor activities. By finding fulfilling alternatives, you’ll naturally reduce your dependency on your phone.
– Seek support and accountability: Reach out to friends, family, or support groups who can help you stay accountable in your efforts to reduce phone usage. Consider sharing your goals with them and ask for their support and understanding. You can also explore apps that are designed to help you manage phone addiction by providing insights and reminders.
Please remember that breaking phone addiction takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and celebrate small victories along the way.