How to kick unhealthy habits: Phones and your emotional wellness.

According to a 2019 Statista study, the majority of children get their first phone at age 11 or 12. Shockingly, 1% of children receive their first phone before they turn 2. As the age that people get their first phone lowers, our addiction level rises. As of January 2022, 47% of Americans would say they’re addicted to their phone. In fact, a word has been created for the fear of being without a mobile phone – nomophobia.

When the world is in your pocket, it’s hard to resist the urge to explore. While cell phones make our lives easier, they also come at a price. Several studies show that this dependency can lead to anxiety, depression, low emotional stability, sleep issues and an increased risk of suicide. What can be done to help with these potential mental health problems? Easy – put down the phone! Here are a few ways you can unplug from the digital world and plug in to real life.

Create a schedule

One way to jump-start your journey to emotional wellness is by creating a schedule of when you can and can’t be on your phone. After a long day at work, time is often spent catching up on social media or checking emails. Next time you catch yourself scrolling, set a timer – maybe it’s 30 minutes or an hour. When time’s up, set your phone down and do something productive, like playing a game with your family,  doing the dishes or taking your dog for a walk. You’ll realize how much you can get done when your phone isn’t in your hand!

Turn off notifications

Notifications are great when they’re important, like when a loved one calls or a coworker emails you. But these alerts often divert our attention from what we’re working on to our phones. To keep the distractions to a minimum, consider turning off as many push notifications as possible. Leave the notifications for important apps and watch your user time dwindle. If your phone doesn’t have the ability to turn notifications off completely, try turning the ringer to vibrate or silent modes. 

No more bedtime scrolling

We’re all guilty of it – checking social media or playing games on our phone before bed. There are several ways to nix this problem:

  1. Select a time when you’ll put your phone down for the night and try to stick to it. Pick up a book instead! Studies show that cell phone light often makes it hard to fall asleep, so reading a book could actually help you sleep better.
  2. Use your phone as an alarm? Throw it back to a classic alarm clock instead and charge your phone in the kitchen or living room so it’ll be ready to go in the morning.

At the Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis, we believe emotional fitness is for everyone. If you need someone to talk to or would like tips to strengthen your mental health, give us a call at 901-306-5433.