Unplugging: 5 Strategies to Break Your Smartphone Addiction

From your RAFT Counseling Team

The beauty of having the world at your fingertips through electronics, primarily cell phones, is that you’re able to access anything and everything almost instantly. 

Unfortunately, having the world at your fingertips means you (along with everything else) are on 24/7. There’s little rest from your ability to be connected.

This has created strong ties to your device, whether for social media access, personal use, or work duties. Too much of a good thing can have negative impacts on your overall health and well-being. 

This overuse of cellphones has turned into an addiction for many. Here are five strategies you can use to break this addiction. 

Start a Cell Phone Diet

Start to place restrictions on how and/or when you use your phone. Limit the amount of times per day you check your social media feed or your emails remotely. Use designated time frames of the day to peruse news outlets. Place yourself on a set schedule for phone use and do your best to stick with it. 

If your work week just makes this impossible, try setting your phone aside for one day per week. Saturdays and Sundays are typically the best days for this. It’s a great way to start to break this habit while also creating a new one of being present. 

Don’t Charge Your Phone by Your Bed

You’re having a hard time falling to sleep so you pick up your phone to catch up on any news you might have missed. You wake up in the middle of the night and do a quick social media scroll. The alarm goes off in the morning and you open your email app to get your day started.

Does any of this sound familiar? Having your phone charging next to your bed gives you the easiest access and excuse to be on your phone when you start the day and to finish it off.

Try designating an alternative space to plug your phone in for the evening. 

Use a Phone Storage Space

When you come home from work (or finish your work day), try putting your phone away. You want to focus on having a good, healthy balance for all facets of your life. As much as you engage in screen time, you should try to counter that with other activity or social interaction.

By physically removing your phone from your immediate presence, it can make it easier to build a habit of not needing to use it. Place it in a drawer or cabinet. Keep it in a room you’re not spending your time in. 

Change Phone Settings

One of the easiest methods to start breaking the phone addiction is to use the phone itself to help you. Start by turning off your notifications. Just because the outside world wants to reach you doesn’t mean you need to give it your attention. If you don’t know your notifications are dinging, you won’t know you’re missing things. If you’re worried about emergencies, you can turn on notifications for just that. 

Remove unnecessary apps from your main screen. You’ll be less likely to become distracted. Turn on airplane mode or do not disturb during home hours. Change the color and sound features to make them less attention grabbing. 

Turn Your Phone off During Social Activities

Social engagements should be time spent enjoying the company of the people you’re with. Your cell phone dinging can easily become disruptive and undesirable. 

Don’t be afraid to turn your phone off, or at least place it on silent, whenever you’re with friends and family. They will appreciate your attention much more. With each outing or get-together, you’ll enjoy reconnecting without the phone. 

Has your phone become a permanent fixture on your person? Do you feel anxious and stressed at the thought of putting it away even when you don't need it? You’re not alone. It can be helpful to learn more about what may be driving your cell phone use and therapists at RAFT Counseling are available to partner with you. Online sessions available and in office in Parker, Colorado, we would love to connect. For our online sessions, we use Simple Practice, a completely HIPAA compliant electronic health record that includes video capabilities to connect with you. Reach out today to get started.

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