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How to Free Yourself From Your Smartphone

HOW TO FREE YOURSELF FROM YOUR SMARTPHONE Facebook's red notification icon, Gmail's pull-to-refresh mechanism and the ping of a LinkedIn update are designed to make us check our phones. And they work. The average person taps, swipes and clicks their smartphone 2,617 times every day.' Here's how to determine if you use your phone too much and how to cut down on it. HOW DEPENDENT ARE YOU ON YOUR PHONE? ull YES NO Would it annoy you if you couldn't check your phone right now? ol. NO YES If you didn't have a signal, would you Does the f thought of running out of phone battery keep checking make you your phone nervous? until you do? YES Do you check NO social media while out with friends? NO Do you fret over Would you not unanswered feel like yourself YES NO YES emails while on without the go? your phone? YES NO Has someone close to you ever said you spend too much time on your phone? NO YES Would you Do you check rather break a your phone during the night? bone than your phone? NO YES YES ill NO You risk becoming too dependent on your phone You might be You have a healthy addicted to relationship with your phone your phone 10 WAYS TO STOP CHECKING YOUR PHONE SO MUCH Whether you're completely dependent on your smartphone or could simply do with cutting down a little, here are proven ways to have a healthier relationship with your phone. 00 EMPOWER YOURSELF BY SAYING "DON'T" INSTEAD OF "CAN'T" In a study of women with fitness goals, those who told themselves, “I can't miss a workout" only succeeded 10% of the time. In contrast, those who said, "I don't miss C. A, workouts" succeeded 80% of the time.? D. O, N T, Try this When you feel the need to reach for your phone, silently repeat this mantra: "I don't check my phone more than once an hour." 00 2 00 GRADUALLY INCREASE THE TIME YOU SPEND AWAY FROM YOUR PHONE An lowa State University study identified nomophobia ("no mobile phone" phobia) as the fear of losing the connectedness, access to information and convenience of a smartphone. Taking small steps can alleviate this fear. Try this Train yourself to take 15-minute "tech breaks"4 – periods when you don't touch your phone. Increase the length of them each week. 00( 3) 00 FLIP YOUR FEAR OF LOSING TOUCH INTO POSITIVE BEHAVIOR Psychologist Dale Kushner says getting to know our fears can soften them.5 Instead of texting, try meeting up with friends. A hug and the sound of their voice releases oxytocin, making us feel happy. Try this Grab a coffee with a friend and keep your phone out of sight. 00 4 00 TURN OFF PUSH NOTIFICATIONS TO STAY FOCUSED Deep Work author Cal Newport says being distracted by things like push notifications makes us more likely to unintentionally rewire our neural patterns." By turning them off, we can stop the conditioned response and regain control. Try this Start small by disabling social media app notifications, like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. 00 00 SIMPLIFY YOUR DOWNTIME TO CHILL OUT MORE A study from University College London found that media multitasking – checking email, Facebook and listening to music – shrinks the part of the brain that controls emotion and regulates anxiety. Try this Spend your relaxation time focusing on one thing that doesn't require your phone, like kicking back with the radio on. 00 6 00 BUILD A HABIT AROUND SOMETHING OTHER THAN YOUR PHONE Author Charles Duhigg describes a neurological loop at the core of every habit: cue, routine and reward. Sitting down at a table (cue) for your lunch break (habit) leads to you reach for your phone (reward). Try this Swap your phone for a brand new paperback. 00 7 00 SCRAMBLE YOUR SCREEN TO AVOID TIME-SAPPING APPS Former Google ethicist Tristan Harris suggests scrambling your apps regularly so your thumb doesn't get in the habit of going to the same apps all the time. It will help avoid the temptation of "bottomless bowl" apps.10 Try this Move social media and games apps off your home screen. 00 8 00 SET RULES TO AVOID PHONE CRAVINGS In Can't Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions, Sharon Begley attributes mobile dependence to dopamine circuitry in our brains. We're addicted to the anticipation of what our phones will show us, not the content itself." Try this Schedule phone-free times, like over dinner or first thing in the morning. Each time you're successful, your brain will release dopamine. 00 9. 00 UPSIZE YOUR SCREEN TO AVOID WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS A study found people who make a clean break from phones experience feelings similar to drug addicts going cold turkey.12 To avoid withdrawal, swap the mobile for your tablet or laptop to enjoy apps in moderation. f Try this Remove social media apps from your phone so you can only check them on your laptop. 00 (10) oO DON'T USE YOUR PHONE AS YOUR ALARM CLOCK A Time/Qualcomm poll found that smartphone connectedness is affecting sleep.3 In fact, 4 out of 10 adults say they check their smartphone if it wakes them during the night.14 Try this Get a real alarm clock and let 22:00 your phone charge overnight in another room – on silent. Feeling anxious? Start small with apps like Forest, StepLock and Onward to help you monitor your phone use. Before you know it, you'll wonder what had you so addicted to begin with. SOURCES: 1. Winnick, M. (2016) Putting a Finger on Our Phone Obsession. blog.dscout.com 2. Barker, E. (2017) This Is How to Stop Checking Your Phone: Five Secrets From Research. observer.com 3. Yildirima, C. and Correiab, A.P. (2015) Exploring the dimensions of nomophobia: Development and validation of a self-reported questionnaire. sciencedirect.com 4. Turner, A. (2015) 5 Simple Tips to Spend Less Time on Your Phone. mashable.com 5. Kushner, D. (2017) Coping with Fear: Face It, Understand It, Overcome It. psychologytoday.com 6. Pappas, S. (2015) Oxytocin: Facts About the 'Cuddle Hormone'. livescience.com 7. Pontefract, D. (2017) Push Notifications Have Become the Death of Thinking. forbes.com 8. Loh, K., and Kanai, R. (2014) Higher Media Multi-Tasking Activity Is Associated with Smaller Gray-Matter Density in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex. journals.plos.org 9. Duhigg, C. (2014) The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Random House Trade Paperbacks. 10. K. Gander. (2017) How To Quit Your Smartphone Addiction, According To A Google Ethicist. independent.co.uk 11. Hosie, R. (2017) The psychological reason you can't stop checking your phone. Independent.co.uk 12. Hough, A. (2011) Student 'addiction' to technology 'similar to drug cravings', study finds. telegraph.co.uk 13. Khazan, O. (2015) How Smartphones Hurt Sleep. theatlantic.com 14. Dillner, L. (2013) Should I keep my smartphone and tablet out of my bedroom? theguardian.com SavingSpot This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike BY SA 4.0 International License - www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0 Dollars and Sense XXXXX XXX XXXX

How to Free Yourself From Your Smartphone

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How dependent are you on your phone? Answer a few questions to find out – and then try implementing our science-backed tips to cut down on your screen time.

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