David has had a variety of life experiences, which he loves to share with his readers.
What Is a Cell Phone Addiction?
So what does addiction to your phone look like? Is it simply just using the phone too often? It's really hard to say, but for me, it's when it started to affect my life. Just like other addictions can be, being addicted to your phone can interfere with your life in a negative way.
This article is based on my personal experiences. I wanted to share my experiences in the hope others can find a way to break their addiction. Keep in mind, I can't diagnose anyone for any kind of condition. You'll need a professional for that.
Time is kind of an amazing thing because you can do so much with it. I think people underestimate time... I don't want to just sit on my phone for hours.
— Billie Eilish
Reasons to Overcome This Addiction
You may want to curtail your phone addiction for a generalized reason - that you are on your phone too much. However, different events in our lives may prove for it to be beneficial to decrease how much we are on our phones. I'll outline a few reasons, just so you are aware of what you may need to consider in the future.
- A recent breakup: A couple of decades ago breakups weren't as hard to deal with since you wouldn't have constant communication with your ex or have the ability to see what was going on with their lives. That's no longer the case. With all sorts of social media apps, it's very easy to virtually stalk your ex. So finding a way to distance yourself from your phone may help you get over the breakup faster.
- Need to save money: There are a ton of apps out there that take your money. It could be games or apps that provide services. These kinds of apps have micro-transactions that can bleed a wallet dry. Saving money can be a great motivator to cut down the use of your cell phone.
- Provides too much of a distraction: Find yourself at work and constantly looking at your phone? Then it's proving to be an easy distraction that is pulling you away from your work. The same can be said if it's pulling you from your family. This is a great reason to stop your addiction to your phone.
- Find more comfort in the virtual world: If you find yourself happier and more comfortable in the virtual world as compared to real life, then you may be addicted to your phone. In moderation, finding comfort in the online world is fine, but if you find you are only happy when you are holding your phone, then you may have a problem.
- Another reason: Maybe it's a New Year's resolution to cut back on phone use, or maybe you just want to look up at the world instead of looking down at your phone all of the time. No matter the reason, it's a good goal to cut back how much you are on your cell phone.
Set Your Goal for Overcoming Cell Phone Addiction
Once you identified why you want to cut down how much time you spend on the phone, you need to figure out what your goal is. It may not be to just stop using your phone. That could almost be impossible since you may use it for work or have to keep in touch with distant family. You may want to cut down the amount of time you spend on your phone or the time of day you scroll through your feed. Either way, identify your goal so you can have it to focus on.
13 Ways to Overcome Cell Phone Addiction
There isn't just one, simple solution to overcoming your phone addiction, except for getting rid of your phone entirely. As previously discussed, that isn't a good option. Below are recommended tips on how you can overcome your phone addiction.
- Uninstall applications. Do you really need Twitter? Instagram? TikTok? Probably not. Facebook maybe, as it is an app that keeps family together. The rest is just gravy. Do yourself a favor and uninstall the applications you don't need. The same goes for games. Many of these apps don't have an option to lock yourself out for a period of time. If they do, then utilize those options. Otherwise, delete the app.
- Shut the phone off. This can be harder to do, again, because it's your lifeline to the outside world. However, you can shut your phone off from time to time if you need to. Maybe you need a nap or have to focus for an hour on an important project. Shutting the phone off for brief periods of time can help you focus.
- Place the phone face down. If you leave your phone face up, the moment you get a notification then you may end up checking it. If you receive a lot of notifications, then you'll never put it down. If you turn your phone face down, you won't be as tempted to check every notification. Be warned though, you may end up checking it because you can't see the notifications. It helps to mute the phone as well so you don't hear it chime.
- Shut off notifications. If you hear that ding, you check your cell phone, don't you? Shutting off notifications, or adjusting how you receive them, may encourage you to check your phone less often. Again, like turning your phone face down, you may find you are checking it more often because you aren't hearing the notifications. In time though, this may ease.
- Put your phone away from you. I used to keep my phone next to me at all times. Now? I have a stand for it. I put it to the left of me since I'm right-handed and it's further away. Since I have notifications shut off, I have less reason to look at my phone and it's more effort to do so.
- Put your phone in another room. Still picking up your phone despite making some changes? Then put it in another room. You'd be surprised how much this prevents you from constantly checking your phone. If the phone rings, then you can still be in earshot to pick it up. Better yet, set it up on a blue-tooth device so you can answer it remotely.
- Set up special settings. This could involve setting up special ring tones for family members or for other important matters like a to-do list. If you keep your phone away from you but hear the special tones, you know when to react to it. Doing this won't completely disconnect you from your phone if you do need it at critical times.
- Downgrade your phone. Do you really need the latest and greatest phone? Maybe you just need to find a phone that makes phone calls and sends text messages. If you can manage with that, downgrade to a simpler phone. This is also a great way to save some money.
- Find something to do with your hands. Part of the problem with me is that I like to keep my hands busy. So if I'm not doing anything, I'll grab my phone and play on that. Instead, I take up other things, like writing and playing video games. Having a simple fidget device can be a good alternative than being glued to your cell phone.
- Tell your friends and family. You may need to tell your loved ones you want to stop using your phone as much and need their help with it. They may help provide you with the distraction you need. Keep in mind friends, especially those made online, can be harder to pull away from. They may even discourage you from using your phone less.
- Set time limits on phone usage. Set your own time limits on when you are using your phone or when taking a break. Most modern phones come with a timer that you can set for any period of time, allowing you to monitor your usage.
- Lock up your phone. Still can't stay off of the phone? Then put it on a locking container. You can just get a box and lock it yourself, but what's to stop you from unlocking it? I recommend you pick up a box with a timer on it that unlocks after the elapsed time period. That's the only way to be sure.
- Seek professional help. If all else fails, then you may need a professional to help you with your addiction. You can see your primary care physician or seek behavioral health services. Either way, it's okay to reach out to ask for assistance. It's nothing to be ashamed of. I encourage you to do it if you feel it's the only solution you have.
I remember my heart dropping when my partner asked me to stop looking at my cell phone when we went out to eat each weekend. It was then I realized I was on it too much. I did what I could to curtail it, but I still had trouble with cell phone addiction. It took a long time to get a handle on it. I still struggle with it today, but I feel like I have a firmer grasp of it now than I ever did before. I hope you reach the same level of success.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 David Livermore