I'm Addicted

But I'm working on it. Maybe you can relate?

It's glued to your hand. The constant checking. The aimless scrolling. The feeling of anxiousness when you seem to have misplaced it. You may have even walked into a pole whilst intensely engaged in a hedgehog video (I could be on my own with that one).  You have a powerful urge to immediately unlock and open an app when a notification pops up. You're very rarely seen without it. It's the last thing you see before you close your eyes and the first thing you check when you wake up. Yip - I was addicted to my phone.  

Awaiting the hit of dopamine from receiving a WhatsApp message or snapchat from a bestie. Scrolling through Instagram instead of talking to my family over lunch.  My sleep was of poor quality and disrupted. I had constant headaches and episodes of back pain (Text neck is an actual thing guys - I'll put my Physio hat on for a future post on that one). Feelings of anxiousness were more frequent and harder to control. I don't think I would have gone an hour without unlocking my home screen at least once. I was becoming more and more immersed in my "phone world" than I was in my real world. It was having a negative impact on my physical and mental wellbeing and even starting to affect my relationships. Enough was enough. 

What did I do? I'm so glad you asked. These are 3 very simple strategies I've implemented in an attempt to break the negative cycle and reliance on my device. 

1. Turn off notifications 

Time to take back the power. Email, Gmail, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Insta, Facebook, Messenger etc etc. All of it. Yes - I still check them more frequently than is required, but I do it when I want, not when the notification is telling me to. 

2.  LEAVE PHONE IN THE KITCHEN OVERNIGHT

Or dining room/spare room/laundry/bathroom -  i.e. not in bedroom

I still slip up on this one. When I can start my morning completing my entire routine (shower, dress, feed rabbit & dog, get breakfast, brush teeth) before checking my phone - wow. I feel calmer, more in tune with my body, content. 

Not having the temptation there of a 'quick' scroll before closing my eyes means less of that crazy light preventing me from falling asleep and a chance for my brain to wind down. We all know how fricking important sleep is. 

"But I use it as an alarm clock".  Not an excuse. Here's a $7 alarm from Kmart. http://www.kmart.com.au/product/alarm-clock/891319. Or if you've got a slightly bigger budget,  try a 'Sunrise Light Alarm Clock'. 

3. Be mindful

Tuning in to when and why I'm reaching for my phone. Bringing some mindfulness to what had become a very mindless task - unlocking the home screen, checking whichever social media or communication platform I felt compelled to, procrastinating from the task at hand or more often distracting myself from an emotion I didn't want to feel. I've still got a way to go but now when I find myself reaching for that cheeky Apple, I'm asking myself - what am I avoiding? Why am I avoiding it? What is my purpose for using the phone right now? If the answer is distraction - can I take a few deep breaths, get myself a glass of water, go for a quick walk? 

 

Even though I wouldn't say I have completely overcome my obsessiveness with my phone - my sleep is better, my posture is improved, I've started taking joy in my everyday surroundings and discussions/debates with loved ones. I'm appreciating smiles from strangers whilst walking down the street and have even received monetary opportunities by engaging in conversations rather than staring down at my phone in uncomfortable environments. The changes so far have been very simple but already I feel like they're making the world of difference. 

So the question remains - can you relate? Let me know in the comments below what strategies you have in place to decrease your mobile use or what you're going to try to implement.  

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If this is the first time you've come across my blog or website. Hi! Welcome. Please know I am not a psychologist and by no means claiming to treat real addiction. Check out the qualifications I do have here. These words are from my heart about my experience which I'm sure many people can relate to. If you are concerned about the mental well being of yourself or a loved one due to an addiction or otherwise please seek treatment by contacting your GP or an appropriate health professional.