Stop! Put Down That Smartphone!

Think you’re addicted to your smartphone? If you use it many times a day and feel anxious when you can’t, you need to go on a digital diet. Excessive phone use can cause sore thumbs, neck pain, stress, anxiety, strained relationships with friends and family, and even car accidents. Here are four ways to break up with your phone but still stay friends. (Phone, it’s not you, it’s me.)

1. Turn off nonessential notifications.
Don’t let dinging sounds and red circle counts decide your day. Instead, bask in the glory of getting more things accomplished with less stress and anxiety. Your brain will thank you—people who multitask perform worse on tasks that require thinking.

2. Remove temptation.
Put your phone in another room. Ask family members to stow their devices before meals. When driving, tuck your phone in your bag or put it in the back seat. Don’t use your phone close to bedtime—too much blue light at night disrupts sleep. Use a real alarm clock instead of your phone’s alarm app. (We know—how low-tech of us!)

3. Set limits.
Do you plan to spend a few minutes checking apps and then an hour goes by? Decide up front how much time you want to waste (spend) and set the timer app. Hooked on social media? Remove those apps from your phone and only use them on your computer.

4. Replace bad habits with good. Stop phubbing—snubbing friends and family by paying more attention to your phone than them. Spend quality, phone-free time with them to keep social bonds strong.

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