They can lead to depression, sleeplessness, anxiety, ruin relationships, strain necks and hurt eyes. So why can’t we put our smartphones down? Psychiatrist and author Dr Barbara Mariposa says multitasking and information overload are driving us crazy. ‘Being constantly “on” has damaging consequences for our physical, mental and emotional health.’ Here’s how to pull back...
1. Have Breaks
Dr Mariposa recommends leaving your phone in your bag for 30 minutes next time you head out. Limit checks to one minute and then leave well alone for 15 minutes. The gradual weaning will help recondition your brain.
2. Leave it outside your bedroom
Bring back your alarm clock and leave your phone outside the bedroom – like internet media tycoon Arianna Huffington. In her new book The Sleep Revolution, she tells how devices’ blue lights suppresses melatonin, making it hard to get to sleep. If Arianna can sleep phone-free, we all can!
3. Take a breath
Julie Morgenstern, productivity expert and author of Never Check E-Mail In The Morning, recommends breathing. ‘Clients tell me that after taking a few calming breaths, they can feel a gear shift happening in their brain. They can move from tech-addicted to being social and engaging with others around them,’ she says.
4. Download a detox app.
If all else fails, let your smartphone dictate when you use it. In detox app Forest, you can grow virtual trees for every 30 minutes you don’t touch your phone.