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Are You Addicted To Your Cell Phone - Are You Addicted To Your Cell Phone?

Our cell phones may be ruining our lives.

That’s the word from a couple of new studies out, both of which underline the fact that many of us are spending so much time looking at our phones that we are missing out on the life around us. The problem, of course, is that our phones are our lifeline not only to the fun of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but they are our connection to our work.

According to a new Reachmail survey, about three-quarters of us are checking in on work emails during our evenings and weekends and that more than 60% are checking up on work emails while on vacations – you know, the time we’ve set aside to vacate email and social media and just have fun.

All that checking in – whether it’s on work emails or our social media – has been shown in studies to increase our stress levels, decrease the amount of restful sleep we’re getting, and to  even impact our love lives negatively. And, while it’s simple enough to tell ourselves not to check in, some experts say technology has become an addiction for many of us that is just has hard to kick as alcohol or even drugs. Moreso because we have to use our tech gadgets for work. So, how do we tune out of our tech long enough to de-stress and enjoy life without feeling as if we’re jonesing for another hit?

Here are five tips to help:

1.  Look for things to do off of the phone.

If you take a train or public transportation to work, use that time to read or listen to music rather than religiously check up on social media or email. Use your evenings or weekends to take a photography or cooking class with your bestie.

2.  Institute a ‘no phones at the table’ rule with your significant other so that you tune into one another and off your phones.

If you’re dating around and not in a serious relationship, leave your phone alone during dates so that you can focus on the conversation and ambience of the date.

3.  Leave more time between email and social media check-ins.

We all love to post pics of our fancy dinners or selfies with the girls, but after posting that pic leave it alone. Don’t go back every five minutes to check in. For example, if you normally check your phone for notifications every 20 minutes, make yourself wait 30 minutes, and gradually leave more space between those notification checks.

4.  With friends, only use your phone to look up important things – like directions to that new restaurant or posting a single group pic.

And, as in #3, don’t continually return to the post to see who has liked/commented on it.

5.  Remind yourself to be present in the moment.

Mindfulness isn’t just about paying attention to our friends, it’s about paying attention to the world around us. Leaving our phones in our bags is another way to be mindful of the world around us, to see the beauty of nature – or that hot waiter at the coffee place.

Remember, you don’t have to give up your phone cold turkey, but taking these few steps to wean yourself off the constant need to update the digital world on your day just might fill your days with more wonder and beauty than even the best Facebook post.

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