Switch off to Switch off

Smart phones make our lives easier. With constant improvements in technology, they allow us to easily access information, take photos, work remotely, facilitate social connections, and even play games.

This, however, comes with a downside in which we see that people have become more and more connected and reliant on their smart phones.

Overuse of your smartphone has been linked with negative physical and psychological effects. Overuse had been linked to problems in eyesight and hearing, as well as psychological effects such as sleep difficulties, anxiety, stress, and low mood.

Smartphone use is of course particularly damaging when we choose to use it in dangerous contexts, such as when driving, or crossing roads as a pedestrian. Smartphones have an undeniably addictive quality. People have reported feeling anxiety, loneliness and/or irritable when separated from their phones and unable to send or receive an immediate message.

Often when spending time with others we can still find ourselves checking our phones. Good social connection is only found when two people attend to the moment together. Humans are social beings and social connection is closely linked to our well-being. It is difficult to be present however during social interactions if your mind is anticipating or distracted by the vibration of a smartphone notification.

Gratification from tweets, texts, likes, and emails have become a social currency. Breaking away from this, reducing your phone use, can help you to find values in yourself, not your phone activity.

If you would like to reduce your phone use, the following tips may be of some help.

  • Do not take your phone to bed

  • Turn your notifications of

  • Have screen and mobile free times e.g. when having dinner or watching a film.

  • Be respectful. Try not to go on your phone when you are in the company of someone else.

  • Keep your phone out of sight. Leave your phone in another room if you are working/doing homework/ focusing on a task.

Article contributed by Alannagh Kelly, Assistant Psychologist at Imagine Health. @Wrkit