Most of us have likely experienced the stress of being without our phone for the day, feeling as though we’re disconnected from our world. This is understandable, seeing as our phones are these advanced, multipurpose tools that help us feel in touch and in control – even on the go. But when does this excessive use become a detriment to our mental health? Below we’ll explore the signs and side effects of phone attachment and some helpful tips on how we can effectively separate ourselves from our tech.
It’s widely known that excessive phone use can be a problem for many people, even being compared to an addiction in how social media interaction can stimulate feel-good chemicals in the brain, reinforcing compulsive behaviour, loss of control, tolerance, withdrawal, and relapse.
Signs of overuse include:
- Reaching for you phone whenever you’re alone or bored.
- Checking your phone instead of sleeping.
- Feeling anxious or irritable when without your phone.
- Giving more of your attention to social interaction on your phone then other aspects of your life, such as work, school, face-to-face relationships etc.
- Increasing your phone use more and more.
- Causing yourself or others injury because of distraction from use.
- Quickly relapsing back to old patterns after limiting your use.
Side effects can include:
- Accidental injury
- Insomnia or sleep deficits
- Relationship conflict
- Poor academic or work performance
Tips to manage overuse
- Remove the most addictive apps from your phone and access them from another device that you don’t carry with you.
- Change your notification settings so you are not constantly receiving notifications.
- Charge your phone in another room at night or set the screen to grayscale to stop it from waking you.
- Contemplate and act on your values by thinking about what truly matters to you in your heart of hearts (your health, self-development, relationships, community etc.) and make a conscious effort to act on these things in specific ways, replacing the time or need for ‘boredom killing’ social media.
- Understand that you’re human and social media apps are designed to make you feel somewhat dependent, therefore causing some discomfort when use is decreased.
It can also be fundamental to address any underlying worries you may be trying to avoid through excessive phone use. An example of this could be feeling as though there is tension in your relationship – trying to resolve your issues with your partner could be key to reducing your anxiety and thus your need for escape.
It is not uncommon to seek outside help from care practitioners who specialise in treating addictive behaviours if you are feeling overwhelmed and in need of support.
Contact our team on (07) 3162 8448 or book online if you’d like to build healthier habits and reach optimal functioning.