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Your smartphone is designed to be addictive. This isn’t a judgment or conspiracy theory. It’s just a reality that may help you find more balance with your phone usage. We live in a society in which it’s not feasible to ditch our devices. Therefore, the healthy and realistic goal is to find ways to break your phone addiction and be more intentional. 4 Ways to Break Your Phone Addiction. Therapy for Men - San Francisco, Marin and Online.

Most people spend at least three hours per day on their phone. This leaves plenty of room for compromise. Anyone can remain productive and social without anywhere near that amount of usage. Keep this in mind as you take essential steps to prevent and/or address phone addiction.

Is Phone Addiction Real?

While some experts quibble over listing one’s phone use as a textbook addiction, it is accepted as a behavioral addiction. So yes, it’s real, and impacts like this are certainly real:

  • Anxiety
  • Insecurity
  • Less creativity
  • Problems with relationships
  • Weakened short-term memory
  • Loneliness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Obesity
  • Problems at school and/or work
  • Depression 

Phones are known to trigger the release of dopamine — a feel-good brain chemical that can induce compulsive choices. Hence, users relentlessly check their phones in search of the dopamine hit.

Common Signs of Phone Addiction 

  • Loved ones express concern about you which leads to you hiding your phone usage from them
  • Taking dangerous risks like using your phone while driving
  • Literally waking up at night to check your phone
  • Feeling phantom notification vibrations or hearing phantom notification sounds
  • Agitation and anger if you lose access to your phone or internet connection
  • Your social life has dwindled, you feel lonely for loved ones and experience a lack of true connection
4 Ways to Break Your Phone Addiction
  1. Progressively Set Limits

It sounds obvious but this is a basic first step. The simplest way to get started is to turn off your phone, say, 30 minutes before you go to bed. Add to this by not turning on your phone until you’ve been awake for at least 15 minutes. You can then graduate to having one phone-free day per week. The idea is to:

  • Prove to yourself you can do it
  • Recognize that life is good even without a phone in your hand
  1. Step Away From Your Devices  

Even during the times when the phone is on, it doesn’t have to be in your immediate proximity. Get used to leaving it in another room. And, to reduce temptation, stop charging your phone anywhere near your bed.

  1. Let Your Phone Help You

You can use apps to limit your phone time. Find an app to monitor precisely how much time you spend on your device. When you see the numbers in real-time, it can be very motivating. Best of all, turn off notifications. Sure, you’ll feel some FOMO (fear of missing out) at first. But, with time, you’ll appreciate the calm energy of not being available 24/7.

  1. Mindfulness

Let’s face it. Much of our phone addiction is not related to urgent work or family matters. We scroll — and scroll and scroll. Any time there’s a slow moment, we grab our phones and mindlessly scroll. Studies have found that the average person touches their cellphone over 2,600 times per day.

Get more mindful and get more intentional. When you feel your hand going for the phone, ask yourself why. Some people do things like wrapping a rubber band around their phones. It serves as a reminder to question why you’ve decided to scroll.

What If The Addiction Has Gone Too Far?

For many folks, the above suggestions are not enough. Their phone addiction has progressed to a point where they need some support. If it feels like that device in your pocket is controlling you, let’s talk about it soon.

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Therapy for Men is a practice led by Dr. Rick Pomfret that offers solution focused counseling and psychotherapy services tailored to the needs of men. Their services encompass anxiety therapy, depression therapy, relationship therapy, men’s issues and support for those navigating life transitions or divorce. With offices in San Francisco and Corte Madera, Therapy4Men provides convenient access to mental health care for men in the San Francisco Bay Area and online across California. We can help you break your phone addiction.