How to Break Free from Your Phone Addiction: Tips from Guardian Readers
Do you feel like you spend too much time on your phone You are not alone. According to a survey conducted in February 2021, nearly half of the respondents stated that on average they spent five to six hours on their phone on a daily basis, not including work-related smartphone use[^2^]. That's more than double the average time spent by Guardian readers, who seem to spend two and a half hours staring at a screen each day[^1^].
While some people are happy with their phone usage and find it intentional and useful, others are unhappy with their screentime and feel stressed, distracted, or isolated. Some even say it's affecting their relationships, health, and productivity. \"It's a waste of life!\", said one reader[^1^].
So how can you reduce your phone addiction and reclaim your time and attention Here are some tips from Guardian readers who shared their experiences and strategies with us:
Set limits and goals. Many readers said they use apps or settings to track and limit their phone usage, such as Screen Time on iOS or Digital Wellbeing on Android. Some also set daily or weekly goals for themselves, such as spending less than two hours on their phone or avoiding social media after 9 pm.
Turn off notifications. A common source of distraction and stress is the constant buzzing and beeping of notifications from various apps. Many readers said they turned off notifications for all or most of their apps, except for the essential ones like calls or messages. Some also use the Do Not Disturb mode or airplane mode to silence their phone when they need to focus or relax.
Delete or hide addictive apps. Some readers said they deleted or hid the apps that they found most addictive or harmful, such as Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Others said they only use these apps on their laptop or desktop, so they can be more conscious and intentional about their usage.
Find alternative activities. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through your phone, many readers suggested finding other activities that are more fulfilling and enjoyable, such as reading, writing, gardening, cooking, meditating, exercising, or spending time with family and friends.
Be mindful and present. Some readers said they try to be more mindful and present when using their phone, by asking themselves why they are using it and what they hope to gain from it. They also try to avoid using their phone in front of others, especially their children, partners, or colleagues, as a way of showing respect and attention.
These are some of the ways that Guardian readers have tried to break free from their phone addiction and improve their wellbeing. What about you Do you have any tips or tricks to share Let us know in the comments below.
What Are the Effects of Phone Addiction
Phone addiction can have negative effects on various aspects of your life, such as your physical health, mental health, social relationships, and academic or work performance. Some of the effects of phone addiction include:
Muscle pain and stiffness. Spending hours hunched over your phone can cause neck, back, shoulder, and thumb pain. This is sometimes called \"text neck\" or \"smartphone thumb\". 2 5
Fatigue and sleep problems. Using your phone late at night can disrupt your sleep quality and quantity, as the blue light from the screen can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. 2 5 Lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, mood swings, impaired memory, and reduced immunity.
Blurry vision and eye problems. Staring at your phone screen for long periods can cause eye strain, dry eyes, red eyes, and blurred vision. This is sometimes called \"digital eye strain\" or \"computer vision syndrome\". 2 5
Anxiety and depression. Excessive phone use can increase your exposure to negative or stressful information, such as news, social media posts, or messages. It can also reduce your face-to-face interactions with others, which can affect your sense of belonging and support. These factors can contribute to anxiety and depression. 2 6
Reduced attention and concentration. Constantly checking your phone can distract you from other tasks that require your focus and attention, such as studying, working, driving, or having a conversation. This can impair your productivity, performance, and safety. 2 6
Loss of interest in other activities. If you spend most of your time on your phone, you may neglect or lose interest in other activities that you once enjoyed, such as hobbies, sports, or socializing. This can affect your physical and mental wellbeing, as well as your personal growth. 2 6
How to Break Phone Addiction
If you think you have a problem with phone addiction, there are some steps you can take to break the habit and regain control over your life. Here are some suggestions:
Acknowledge the problem. The first step is to admit that you have a problem with phone addiction and that it is affecting your life negatively. You can also try to identify the triggers or reasons that make you use your phone excessively, such as boredom, stress, loneliness, or fear of missing out.
Seek help. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope with your phone addiction on your own, you may benefit from seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in behavioral addictions. They can help you understand the underlying causes of your addiction and provide you with strategies and support to overcome it.
Set boundaries. You can also try to set some boundaries for yourself regarding when and where you use your phone. For example, you can turn off your phone or put it away during certain times of the day, such as meal times, bedtime, or family time. You can also avoid using your phone in certain places, such as your bedroom, bathroom, or classroom.
Use apps or tools. There are some apps or tools that can help you monitor and limit your phone usage, such as Screen Time on iOS or Digital Wellbeing on Android. These apps can show you how much time you spend on different apps or activities on your phone and allow you to set limits or reminders for yourself.
Find alternatives. Instead of relying on your phone for entertainment or stimulation, you can find other ways to fill your time and meet your needs. For example, you can read a book, listen to music, play a board game, do some exercise, meditate, or call a friend. You can also join a club, take a class, volunteer for a cause, or pursue a hobby that interests you. aa16f39245