If there was ever a first world problem, mobile phone addiction is it! Mobile phone addiction is prolific, and many of us suffer from it. The dopamine spiking 'ding' when we get a message or alert, loops us into a vicious cycle of addictive behavior. When that ding goes off, or an alert flashes, it's nearly impossible to resist not checking to see who it is! The avaerage person checks their phone around 150 x per day!!
You only have to walk down the street, or go to a cafe, to see how many people are engrossed in their phones! Sadly it's a common occurrence to see people on their phones in their car at the traffic lights. Eyes darting up and down to write or read a message that must surely be urgent!
Signs you know you are addicted
You struggle to turn your phone on silent in case you miss anything important
You check your phone every 5 minutes or more, even if there is no alert
Your friends and family constantly harass you to put your phone down
You panic when you can't find your phone
You take your phone everywhere!
You get sore hands or arms from holding your phone so much
You check your phone during the middle of the night, and sleep with it next to you
Chunks of time disappear as you scroll endlessly on your phone
Every time your phone gets an alert, you react and cannot delay waiting.
Ok so what we are addicted. What's so bad about that?
Sure mobile phone addiction isn't the worst addiction to suffer from, but it could be ruining your health and certainly your relationships more than you realise. Constant mobile phone use is detrimental for your health, and any addictive pattern is destructive.
Constant mobile phone use leads to repetitive postures like the one picture above, which place crazy amounts of extra stress on your body. The posture on the far right, is a recipe for headaches, back pain, neck pain and poor circulation and cellular health. Not to mention the potential repetitive strain that comes from holding the phone in your preferred hand. Repetition is the enemy of the connective tissue, and a sure fire way to increase breakdown in the body. Many phone addicted people will often have grip strength problems, forearm and shoulder dysfunction and neck troubles on their dominant side.
And then there is the attention span and focus depleting effects of the mobile phone. Not only is it distracting if notifications are on full swing, but the light in the eyes zaps performance and focus. Constant exposure to screens and artificial light is a stress on the eyes, and the brain, and long term use can cause damage to both areas. This artificial light, and particularly the blue light spectrum at night is especially damaging to the production of Melatonin which should rise after dusk in response to darkness. Melatonin is a sleep initiating anti-oxidant hormone produced in the gut and the pineal gland. Blue light inhibits the production of Melatonin after dark, so our brain stays wound up and alert, and doesn't get the message to sleep and relax.
There is also the problem of Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Radiation. Being constantly exposed to multiple sources of EMF radiation from technology is hazardous to our health. Make sure you place your phone on aeroplane mode when it's in your pocket, and try to keep it at least a meter away from you to reduce the negative effects. You can also buy radiation shield phone covers or devices. and blocking headphones.
Obsessive mobile phone use is most damaging to relationships. If you have been on the receiving end of someone unable to put their phone down in front of you, you can end up feeling disrespected, unimportant and uninteresting! There is nothing worse than hanging out with someone who checks their phone every few minutes.
Being on your phone often can be a gap filler for boredom which robs our brain of a chance to actually have a break. When we allow our mind to wander, and day dream, that's when creative insight and magic can happen. Ever been in the shower and had an epiphany? That's because your brain has been allowed to unwind. When we take a break from work, and check our phone, we are missing these opportunities for mind drift magic to occur.
Keen to Detox From Your Phone?
Here are a few things you can try to start pulling away from your phone and giving yourself some head space.
Turn off notifications so you can choose to check your phone on your own time, rather than when it pings at you. This way you can chunk in checking multiple platforms like social media, or email at once.
Put your phone on aeroplane mode when you have an important task to focus on, or are spending time with a friend or relative.
Try leaving your phone at home when you go out where possible. It leaves you with a sense of freedom and peace.
Unsubscribe from mailing lists you don't use to reduce time on your phone.
Charge your phone overnight, outside of your bedroom
Resist the urge to check your phone first thing in the morning until you have completed your ideal morning routine, or achieved what you needed to. Again it's about being on your own schedule, rather than getting pulled into the demands of replying to messages, or dealing with work challenges.
Delete applications from your mobile phone that have a tendency to suck your time away. Ie facebook,
Try having a phone off day!
Allow yourself an iphone budget 1-2 hours a day at specified intervals.
You'll be surprised at how hard it can be initially to break the addiction to your mobile phone, but you may equally be surprised at the sense of liberation you have, and the amount of time you gain back. Give it a try and enjoy the head space!