Our smartphones… we love them, we hate them.  It seems we can’t escape from them.  This little love affair can lead to addiction.  And addiction is a pretty serious thing, even toxic.  But, let’s face it.  Most of us do have a smartphone addiction.  Can you remember the last time you left home without it?

I’ll be honest… I can’t. It’s hard to disconnect.  Which, having a smartwatch to go with it, keeps me more connected than ever.  Even with my phone in another room… I know when I get a call, a text, or even Facebook notifications.

While I know I COULD live without it… it would be really hard.  We’ve come to rely on our phones for just about everything!  Obviously for calls and texts to stay connected.  But we also use them for calendars, reminders, notes, and more. Heck, my fiancé can even check to see if his truck is locked and remote start it from his phone!

In a recent article on Essence, it shows that 58% of Americans do feel they use their phones too much.  That number is up from 39% back in 2015!

Essence interviews a psychotherapist, Flin Oshun, who points out, “It has become the norm to indulge in all your phone has to offer with the luxuries of various apps that make life easier. Hello digital pay options, instant deliveries, and ride sharing!”

She also goes on to talk about FOMO, and how our phones have learned our behaviors and likes, which makes it even more addicting to stay connected. But while it sounds nice that it seems curated just for you, it’s not so great for our mental health.

Honestly, I know it’s not good for my mental health. And I know I use my phone to beat boredom… or even help me out when I’m feeling anxious or awkward (like sitting in a waiting room, standing in line, etc.).

According to the article, if you’re repeatedly using your phone and hoping it will reduce certain feelings, it could be a sign of phone addiction. So the next time you catch yourself checking those notifications again, or mindlessly scrolling social media… take a step back and see if it’s helping or hurting you!

Here are a few tips you can try to battle your phone addiction:

  • Track screen time. Set your phone up to show you how many hours you use it each day.  Most iPhones have this feature, and it even breaks it down by which apps/categories you spend the most time on!
  • Leave your phone at home. Yep, this is a tough one for me! But, this is a great way to be more present in the moment, especially if you’re trying to relax!
  • Put your phone in another room while you sleep. Having your phone in your room and using it before you try to sleep could affect your sleep patterns. It’s hard to shut your mind down and find peace before drifting off to sleep if you’re still scrolling after lights out!
  • Take it slow– Baby Steps. No addiction is cured quickly. And your phone obsession didn’t develop quickly either.  Try small changes to see what works best for you to start looking up from your screen and getting back into your real life!

Obviously, our phones can be used for good things… but too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, right? If you’re dealing with a smartphone addiction, just know… ME TOO!