As the world reached the middle of the 2010s, many psychiatric professionals lobbied for smartphone addiction to become a diagnosable disease. And rightly so. Many people can’t function without looking at our device every few minutes, with risks detrimental to mental health and general well-being.
The world currently is at a time when mobile devices seem like an extension of everyone’s bodies. With that in mind, here are some ways to maintain healthy boundaries with your smartphone or tablet if you want to live a healthier life this 2022.
Think of it as a necessity, not a luxury
If you think of your device as the following:
- A tool for productivity
- A channel through which you can connect with family, friends, and workmates
- The primary source of information when you need it
you help set yourself up for success because you won’t need to reach for your device every time you feel like you need some form of entertainment. If you think of your small devices as necessities, you would be more likely to spend less money on them. You would have your cellphone repaired instead of buying a new one every time you encounter a minor issue. You don’t allow clever marketing for new models to sway you.
To help enforce this new conviction, remove all your entertainment apps from your devices. Apps like Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, other streaming services, and social media apps like Instagram, Tiktok, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Get rid of the apps you are most addicted to as well, like some games or quizzes. Just add those apps on your desktop device—devices that don’t tempt you to use every few minutes. Only use your smaller devices like your phone and tablet for emails and other work tasks.
Don’t reach for your device when you don’t need it
One thing not many people realize is that their smaller devices have turned into some form of fidget device for them. Many people can’t seem to let of of their phones. Stop for a second to look at your tendencies. Whenever you feel anxious, uncomfortable, or want to distract yourself from whatever pain you may be experiencing at the moment, do you reach for your phone or tablet? If the answer is yes, then you might have developed an unhealthy attachment to your device as some form of a comfort tool.
The good news is that the first step to changing an unhealthy tendency is recognizing it. If you feel like this is something you do, find other tools that can help relieve your discomfort. Look at actual fidget toys or different types of toys like a Rubik’s cube or some small stuffed animals. Experts say there are plenty of health benefits to sleeping with some plush toys, even for adults. So don’t feel ashamed about hugging a cuddly toy or a soft blanket whenever you feel anxious.
Out of sight, out of mind
If you have a long day of work ahead of you, find ways to hide your smaller devices in places where you won’t tempt yourself to reach for them. If you have a partner or a roommate, ask them to hide your devices where you can’t find them. Don’t worry about feeling like a child with no sense of self-control; you are doing this for your well-being. If you have no choice but to have your devices beside you while you work or study, add a post-it note on top of it to remind you only to reach for it when you have to answer calls. You can even use an annoying and noisy bell to help stop you in your tracks
Say no to your devices in the bedroom
Do you notice how it’s tempting to use your phone or tablet in bed because there’s a feeling that you deserve it after a long day? And it’s true—you do earn to relax after a stressful workday, but you don’t need your smartphone or tablet to do it.
If there’s one place in your home that is most optimal for your overall health and well-being, it’s the bedroom. Don’t use your smaller devices before going to bed. Instead, read a physical book or strike up a meaningful conversation with your partner or roommate. Find healthier options to unwind in bed after a long day.
Most won’t know the long-term effects of phone addiction until it’s too late. Give yourself a fighting chance by building a healthy relationship with your phone now so you won’t have to experience the negative consequences for yourself.