There’s an excellent chance that right before you clicked on this link, you did something like check a social media page or send an email. On the surface, this sounds harmless and quite normal. But when was the last time you put your phone away? Digital addiction is not (yet) a diagnosable condition. However, it is a widely accepted and heavily monitored trend.
It could relate to gaming, social media, pornography, and so much more. Extreme usage has been normalized. This makes it even more difficult to discern when you’re going too far. So, before you get to solutions, you must first identify your personal problems.
Possible Signs of Digital Addiction
- You find yourself experiencing intense urges to use any of your devices
- When you log on, your mood elevates
- You feel guilt and shame about how much time you spent online
- Your devices have become your go-to when you need a boost
- You’ve tried reduced usage but were unable to make positive changes
- You have stopped engaging in other activities you once enjoyed
- You’re concealing your usage and/or lying about it to others
In addition, you could be dealing with side effects. Digital addiction can result in you getting less sleep, neglecting hygiene, losing concentration elsewhere in your life, and suffering physical symptoms from your sedentary lifestyle.
How To Break Digital Addiction
End the Evening/Morning Rituals
Do not sleep with your phone close to your bed. Leaving it in another room is ideal. This removes the temptation to start scrolling if you have trouble falling asleep. It also removes the knee-jerk tendency to check your phone the moment your eyes open in the morning.
Make Mindful Choices
You are most likely to pick up a device when you feel you have “nothing else to do.” Actively challenge this mindset. Create a daily to-do list. Keep yourself focused on what else you could and should be doing. Ideally, you pick up some healthy habits like exercise or meditation. Prioritize these every time you think you need to check notifications.
Turn Off Notification Sounds
Even when you are having a low usage day, the dopamine-inducing notification sound is enough to flip that script. To decrease the likelihood of this happening, turn off the alert sounds. Set aside a certain amount of time to check notifications throughout the day. This puts you in control instead of the reflexive reaction you have to sounds.
Reimagine the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
FOMO is what keeps so many of us compulsively checking updates. The 24/7 news cycle seems to mock anyone who hasn’t kept up with whatever happened 30 seconds ago. But there are other kinds of “missing out.” You could be enjoying that time with a loved one or appreciating a sunset. Instead of a social media flame war, you might miss out on a walk in the sun, a good stretching session, or a meaningful face-to-face conversation.
With every choice you make, you are technically missing out on something else. So why not add your FOMO toward something other than tweets, DMs, likes, and shares?
Talk to Someone About Your Problem
It could feel shameful but you’re the brave one when you ask for help. Any type of addiction, by definition, is challenging. Creating a support system is a rational choice to help you tackle a problem that can toss your life into disarray.
Sometimes, It’s Professional Help You Need
Digital addiction is a relatively new concern. Knowing how to handle it can be tricky. Why not get some guidance from a mental health professional? Therapy is a powerful, proven path for dealing with addictive behaviors. You can use the floating bar to schedule a free phone consultation or reach out using the form here.
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