It’s the last thing you look at before falling asleep, and the first thing you reach for in the morning.
The innovative device that appeared in our purses and pockets around 20 years ago has changed everything. It’s dialed in on almost every aspect of daily life, and has a hand in how we communicate, date, shop, get the news, entertain ourselves…
If you’re like most, you probably underestimate the hold your smartphone has over you—or maybe you just don’t want to know.
Checking it compulsively happens automatically, and many people don’t realize the unconscious fervor in which they grope for their phone during the in-between moments.
At best, this hyper-reliance on our smartphones is a distraction.
At worst, it perpetuates anxiety, loneliness, and depression. It’s robbing people of real-world experience and paving the way for addictive patterns to emerge.
For many, whether we like it or not, our smartphone’s commanding our attention and controlling our lives.
1. Regain Control
Now of course, the Smartphone itself isn’t bad. There’s no denying the perks and conveniences it offers.
The problem here is us.
Our brains aren’t wired for restraint. We’re not always present; we’re fickle, easily bored. We were handed these novel devices and never taught how to properly manage them.
Reason to break your addiction: Many allow their phone to control them, instead of the other way around.
2. Find Yourself
Depending on who you are and what you’re into, there’s an app for that. There’s something online that seduces you, pulls you away from problems, stress, discomfort, and comforts you with fill-in-the-blank. No wonder the phone has such a draw; it’s the easiest go-to when you’re feeling blah.
The problem is, this can further disrupt your life, and keep you stuck.
Reason to break your addiction: The phone becomes an unhealthy means of seeking comfort and validation.
3. Establish Boundaries
When it comes to your smartphone, one way to create boundaries and monitor your use is to view it as a tool.
Think of it like a grocery store. There are nutritious foods available, but there’s also sugary fatty highly processed yet delicious choices. If you’re not intentional about why you’re there and what your goal is, you’re likely to gravitate toward what tastes good, requires little effort, and makes you temporarily feel better.
And no, this doesn’t mean you have to avoid the cookie aisle (in this case maybe that’s social media or Amazon) it just means you need to be intentional about why you’re checking your phone, and how long you plan to check it for.
Many of us view our phones as an object, and never really consider appropriate use – never contemplate the ramifications of what it means to automatically check a screen instead of checking in with how they’re actually feeling.
Start to pay attention to the draw. Redirect yourself every time you slip, take a deep breath, and connect with yourself and your surroundings.
Reason to break your addiction: Phones are a huge distraction and waste a ton of time.
4. Develop Healthy Smartphone Use
Teens are the demographic that suffers the most. According to the NIH, there is evidence that smartphone use in teens can increase rates of anxiety, depression, self-harm—even suicide. Teenage girls are hit the hardest.
Just like dating, deciding when your child is ready for a smartphone is no small feat. Thankfully, there are things you can do to monitor and control your teens’ use of their phone, and along with these restrictions, it’s important to educate them about the negative consequences of excessive smartphone use.
One of the most damaging aspects of social media is it creates an unrealistic picture of many aspects of life. The teenage years can be confusing and tumultuous enough without this added pressure, and it’s crucial your teen is educated and empowered to see behind the curtain—or in this case, the filter.
Therapy is an excellent way to help empower your teens and equip them with healthy ideals and coping skills. If you’re a Northern California resident, we have two convenient office locations, one in Roseville and the other in Fair Oaks. We offer individual, couples, and family counseling and are here if you need a little extra guidance.
Reason to break your addiction: There is a direct correlation between the decline in teenage mental health and smartphone use.
5. Enjoy Real Life
Life can be challenging, but it’s also beautiful, exciting, and fun. Think about your favorite, most meaningful experiences. They’re not likely centered around those two hours a few Tuesdays ago when you accidentally lost track of everything and mindlessly scrolled, right? In fact, you probably don’t remember much of your scrolling or shopping, or whatever it is that draws you in after the fact.
The more you ground yourself in the real world, the stronger, more capable, and happier you’ll become. Humans are social creatures that thrive on connection to themselves, each other, and the world at large.
By imposing limits on the time spent using your phone and what you use it for, you open up a whole new world: A spectacular place where you belong.
With so much to do and explore, where do you want to go first?
Reason to break your addiction: Real-life will ALWAYS be more meaningful and rewarding.
Therapy in Roseville, CA, Fair Oaks, CA, or Online in California:
If you are ready to change your life for the better, we can help. To begin therapy at our Sacramento area locations or online, follow these steps:
- Contact the Relationship Therapy Center and schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation to learn more.
- Meet with one of our talented therapists
Services Offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:
Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include, anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.