Following the fast evolution of our consumptions, a new type of addiction has emerged, just as harmful as alcohol and drugs addictions. In fact, the overconsumption of social media, as well as being constantly connected or even addicted to smartphones, may often lead to psychological and behavioral problems, or even to body damage in the most serious cases.
We made a list of six signs of addiction. Check it out to see if you recognize yourself in some…or all of them! You’ll also find some tips to help you free yourself from this dependence.
1) The first thing you see after waking up
According to surveys, 7 out of 10 people sleep with their cellphones next to their beds, even more in some social or professional classes and certain age brackets. If your first reflex after waking is checking notifications on your smartphone, no matter if Facebook or emails, it means that you are already a little bit addicted to your mobile.
To get rid of this bad reflex (since the blue light screen of your smartphone is no good for your eyes, especially when they have just opened), force yourself to put your phone in another room before going to bed. Buy an alarm clock instead of relying on your mobile’s one. You can also establish a rule to prevent yourself from checking the phone before a certain time. Try instead to wake up reading a few pages of a book while drinking a cup of coffee, having a shower or doing exercise. Only after those activities, you will allow yourself to check the phone.
2) Smartphones as a weapon against boredom
When hearing your phone’s ringtone, you may feel a little excitement that can be called euphoria. It’s exactly this small euphoria that you’re looking for every time you check your phone out of boredom. To overcome this effect, turn your phone on silent mode as often as possible. This simple action can decrease that Pavlovian reflex and your addiction to that small adrenaline rush.
To fight boredom, try to grab a book or a newspaper instead of opening Facebook or the web page on your mobile. The right strategy is always bringing along something to read in your bag or coat.
3) Everything goes through your phone
Some actions, like texting or calling, cannot be done without a phone, however, there are many more things that can be achieved without using a mobile. For example, doing the shopping, checking the weather forecast or booking a table at a restaurant. I know that saying so I will probably incur the wrath of those who think that being able to do all of this with a few clicks is a true advantage. In my opinion, all those clicks only make us grow more and more disconnected from reality.
Of course, technology is undeniably convenient, but I recommend that you put first human contact and rely on technology only as a second choice. In case of an addiction, you need to start getting rid of those little everyday unessential actions. Instead of buying a pair of shoes online, that maybe don’t even fit, just go to the shop and try them on.
4) You feel restless if your phone is not with you
I already heard people saying: “My smartphone is my life”. That’s so depressing! Try asking yourself what would you bring on a deserted island. If the answer is your smartphone, well, that’s actually sad.
Many people experience a form of stress when they cannot find their phone at once, getting irritated, anxious or even panicked, fearing they might never grab it again. This is a clear sign of addiction. According to some studies, 68% of adults (older than 18) have an irrational fear of losing their phone. I think that this number has grown even more substantial in 2018.
To fight this fear you need to force yourself to go through a withdrawal. I am talking about new activities such as the digital detox camps, where phones are forbidden and people are forced to take a rest from social media and the Internet. Some bars have started forbidding phones too, while a restaurant in Tel Aviv offers a discount to all those customers who consign their phone at the entrance.
5) Your family is complaining
If your smartphone usage is arousing conflicts, probably it’s because of excess, and excess is a sign of addiction. If your partner, your children or your friends think that you spend too much time on your phone, listen to them. Don’t miss life’s good moments by constantly staring at the screen!
If on the other hand you are endlessly scrolling your Facebook page eagerly looking for the last funny news or if you never feel tired of updating your Instagram or Snapchat stories with your new selfies, then you definitely have a narcissism problem.
6) Do you recognize yourself in this description?
If you are firmly convinced to have no problems related to your phone, but still cannot manage to reduce the time spent on its screen, sorry, that’s probably a form of addiction.
Train yourself to live unplugged, try to develop new habits and hobbies that don’t involve a phone, start exercising again, discover a new passion, meet old friends and spend a nice evening without screens. Soon you will rediscover the joy of a direct exchange with people who are really listening to you.