Five Tips to Finally Break Your Smartphone Addiction

iStock_000024355479SmallJust how addicted are people to their smartphones? In a survey conducted among a thousand Canadians last 2013, about 80% confessed they can’t leave their phones at home even for just a day. In fact, over 30% were willing to give up television before they’d even think of doing that with their phone.

What Is Smartphone Addiction?

Simply because you own a smartphone and use it consistently doesn’t have to mean that you’re already addicted to it. Nevertheless, if the device and its use already interfere with your life, you may have cause for concern. A perfect example is if you develop anxiety attacks if you accidentally leave your phone at home. Dr. Phil’s website also has a good list of signs of addiction. These include:

  • Lacking the ability to resist the urge or the impulse to check your phone
  • Spending less time on other fruitful activities like meeting friends to have more time for the source of the addiction. (Having your face buried in your phone while you’re out with friends — sound familiar?)
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when away from the addiction source


“I Think I’m Addicted. What Do I Do?”

In reality, getting rid of the smartphone addiction is a lot more difficult than you’d think. The brain seems to be wired to your new source of euphoria. That’s the reason why you always feel the urge and can’t resist it.

The good news is however the challenge, stopping the addiction is possible:

1. Admit it first. The first step to finding a solution is to acknowledge the problem. You have to fully accept within yourself that you’re addicted to the smartphone and that you need help.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. Many psychologists can help you effectively deal with your addiction including cognitive or behavioral therapy.

3. Use an app. Now this may sound counterproductive, but some apps can assist you in tracking your smartphone use. A great example is Moments, which monitors how long you’ve been using the phone based on your pre-determined limits. If you’ve already gone beyond the limit, the phone gives you notifications that can become very loud, perhaps as a way of jolting you back to the reality of your addiction.

Since it’s an invisible app, you can’t easily control or change its settings.

4. Make some small changes. What drives addicts to extreme withdrawal is when they are immediately removed from the source. Although some succeed in ending the addiction cold turkey, you’ll benefit more if you simply make the small but necessary changes. For instance, at night, you may want to sleep away from your phone and check it only when you’ve fully woken up. Stop leaving the phone or turning it off at certain times of the day.

The key here is consistency. Besides, you want to make the detachment as natural and as smooth as possible, so the chances of developing it again are very slim.

5. Unplug. Spend at least a few minutes every day not touching anything electronic, whether it’s a tablet, a smartphone, or a PC. As you become comfortable of the separation, increase the frequency or length of your unplug times.