Getting Out of the Phone Coma

Smart Phones… so good but oh so bad at the same time. Do you ever find yourself staring at social media only to look up to see that more time than anticipated has passed? It happens all to often with the constant access and mindless scrolling. Unfortunately, this can actually be bad for our health and we need to find ways to take breaks from our phone and be more mindful when we are on them.

How are smart phones bad for our health? Let me count the ways…

  1. The most obvious is that it strains your eyes. Have you ever noticed your eyes hurting after staring at your phone for a long period of time? That’s not a good thing… it can lead to headaches and worse vision.

  2. It has become an addiction. Addictions to anything really aren’t healthy. When you start panicking because you don’t have your phone, you may have an unhealthy addiction.

  3. Constant strolling through social media can make you feel depressed. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Unfortunately it is very hard to not constantly compare yourself to the perfect version that people portray on social media so that can cause feelings of depression or anxiety. Don’t compare - those people are going through things that they just aren’t displaying on their feeds.

  4. It can be bad for brain health! Memorizing is super important for our long term brain health. Do you remember back when we had phone numbers memorized? That was not only a super helpful tool for if you don’t have your phone on you (which I’m hoping this post will trigger more of that), but it also was good to keep that memory muscle in check. Constantly having access to our phones has prevented us from using that muscle in more ways than just memorizing numbers.

  5. Stunts your social skills. We aren’t practicing actually talking to people. We aren’t practicing connecting with people. We are behind a screen texting, emailing, commenting, etc. and not getting that human interaction that we as humans need. Even when we are out with friends or family we are constantly on our phones which prevents us from really listening and making those around us feel important and heard.

  6. It hurts your sleep. I’m sure that you have all heard by now that blue light before bed is no bueno! Blue light suppresses the hormones that promote sleep. Read a book, read a magazine, put down the phone. Sleep effects everything and you can’t really live a healthy life without good nights of sleep.

  7. It increases your risk of fatal accidents. Going back to it being an addiction, it can be so much of one that we can’t even put down our phones while driving and walking. Try to narrow down your phone time to when you can be mindful about it. Oh, and DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE!

Those are just 7 ways in which cell phone usage can negatively impact our lives and our health, but honestly there are so many more ways (spinal damage, lung compression, breakouts, etc.) that you can look up and see. So, what is the solve here in a world that is so heavily reliant on smart phones?

I suggest a few things for this:

  1. Be more mindful about when you use your phone. Don’t hop on social media every time that you are bored (especially when driving - I can’t say this enough) - this is a bad habit that we have created that leads to more bad habits. Try and set a designated amount of time that you will spend on social media each day - maybe 30-1 hour before or after dinner (not during - this also messes with mindful eating).

  2. When you go to answer a text don’t immediately hop over to social media - save that for your designated phone time.

  3. Don’t compare yourself to the versions of other people that they put on social media. Remember, just like your feed is likely your best version of yourself, theirs is too. They are struggling too.

  4. Make your bedroom a smart phone free zone. I know, I know, how can I do this? Well for starters get an actual alarm clock - yes, they still make those. Charge your phone outside of your bedroom and get some good quality sleep.

  5. Put your phone away when you are with your family and friends. In fact, try not taking your phone with you if you are going to dinner with someone. If you must take it with you ask your friend to hold you accountable to not get on your phone while you are with them. All the messages, updates, and phone calls will still be there when you are done with dinner.

How will you be more present this week sans phone?

-SS