6 practical tips to help break your phone addiction

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1 January 1970

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If you’ve become a little too dependent on your device, find out how to control the urge to scroll. Follow these practical tips to break your phone habit.

When was the last time you checked your phone? Chances are it was in the last ten minutes.

In today’s digitally dominated world, we have become enslaved to the devices that were meant to free us.

Smartphones were supposed to make life easier, yet none of us could’ve foreseen their addictive nature. We’re now spending an average of three hours a day on our phones, and many of us have reached the point where any downtime – even the smallest pocket of time – is filled with mindless scrolling.

We seem to have lost our ability to just be. And when we do leave our phones, we have the sense that we might be missing out on something important. The reality is though, reading celebrity news, responding to Facebook messages or posting a photo of your morning smoothie bowl can wait. If you feel like you just “don’t have enough time in your day”, it may be because you’re wasting more time than you realise scrolling on your phone.

Instead of improving our lives, technology is increasingly getting in the way of us enjoying our lives – and the biggest source of trouble is the device that’s with us wherever we go. We know that excessive phone usage is linked to increased loneliness, depression, anxiety and poorer sleep, and these all have a huge bearing on our mental and physical wellbeing.

With baby number two on the way, I know my time is about to become more precious than ever, so I’ll be looking for ways to consciously put my phone away to focus on what really matters. Here are some ways to break the phone habit.

1. Out of sight, out of mind

Picking up and checking our phones is not dissimilar to gambling or engaging in other behavioural addiction. A small shot of dopamine is released into our brain and keeps us wanting for more, even though we know we probably shouldn’t. Its lure is powerful enough to interrupt a conversation with a friend, disrupt a family dinner or even lead to us saying “in a minute” when our child wants our attention. How sad is that?! But the first step to reducing screen time is noticing. If we can bring an awareness to our phone use and ask ourselves “Why now?” and “What for?”, then we can be more intentional in our use.

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