Mental Hygiene – Are you addicted to your phone?📱

Mental Hygiene – Are you addicted to your phone?📱

Just like we need to wash bad odors off our bodies, we need to clean out the negative stuff from our brains daily.

All day, we’re inundated with bad news, controversy, war, and violence. Some of us even feel insecure or jealous when we see posts of people having a good life or doing things we want to do. Those thoughts leave emotional plaque which build up if we don’t clean them out.

The number one offender to our mental health is currently our beloved cell phones. People today defend their phones like cigarette smokers did when they were told it caused cancer. “I’m not addicted. I’m fine. I won’t get cancer,” they said. Until they did. Now the medical community is telling us our phones are an addiction which is a source of anxiety, depression, and is exacerbating symptoms of ADD/ADHD. Are we listening?

This is not about getting rid of your cell phone. It’s a plea to pay close attention to how you use it when you’re not working. The addiction is REAL. And if you don’t think so, let’s do a test right now.

Put your phone on silent in another room and see how long you can go without looking at it. How many minutes can you go before you automatically reach for it and freak out because it’s not there? Do you feel like you’re missing something when it’s not in your hand or in your pocket? Are you thinking the world is going to fall apart if you can’t look at it? If you didn’t last half an hour, it’s a problem. But it’s not your fault. Social media and all forms of online entertainment were created to keep us on it.

When we look at our phones, dopamine is released which is the feel-good chemical. It doesn’t last long so we want more. We check our phones constantly looking for that hit. Then it’s not enough. We wake up in the middle of the night to check our phones. Now we aren’t getting good sleep and we still feel like something is missing. We tell ourselves we need to be “informed” and up on the latest news but all we are doing is feeling angry, sad or scared by what we see. How often do we act on the news we received? Not often. We use our phones to avoid processing our emotions or deal with problems. We are rats on a proverbial food bar begging for more.

The platforms using short-timed media, (Tik Tok and YT Shorts), are rewiring our brain to focus for only 10 seconds at a time! We’ve been training our brains to have a short attention span. ADD/ADHD is on the rise, along with depression and anxiety. And it’s all thanks to our phone habits.

🛑Here is how you stop:

  1. Give yourself time away from your phone every day. During a meal would be a great place to start. Put your phone on DND and, whatever you do, don’t look at it while you’re eating.
  2. NEVER, and I repeat, NEVER sleep with your phone by your bed. If you use it for an alarm, make sure it’s somewhere else so you can’t reach for it in the middle of the night. Better yet, get an actual alarm clock.
  3. Check your messages a few times a day as opposed to every two minutes. No one should have access to you 24 hours a day. It’s not healthy. Use the timer to give yourself breaks from your phone and don’t pick it up until the timer is finished. Start with 30 minutes and build up the time to an hour.

 

✅What to do instead of being on your phone:

  1. Listen to what is going on in your head. Do you see everything as bad? What feelings are you avoiding? Let them come up and deal with them. They will surface later if you don’t.
  2. Talk to a real person, in person. Nothing beats human connection.
  3. Go for a short walk. Anywhere. Around your home, to the mailbox, around the block, a flight of stairs in your work building — get circulation going in your legs and brain.
  4. Read an actual paper printed book or magazine. Exercise your mind.
  5. Daydream. Dare to think about what you want in your life and what you can do to make it happen.
  6. Drink an 8-ounce glass of water. Not coffee, tea, juice or soda. Water.
  7. Play with your kids/husband/pet. They want your attention.
  8. Take a nap. Especially if you have been sleeping with your phone next to you and wake up to look at it.
  9. Draw, paint, color, doodle or do anything creative that requires using your hands. This engages the cortex and helps you be calm.
  10. Do anything else! Floss your teeth, cut your nails, meditate, pluck your eyebrows, throw in a load of laundry, sing a song, — do literally anything else but look at your phone.

 

All these suggestions are tried and true. Give yourself one month and you will feel noticeably better and get better sleep. If you find this hasn’t helped you after 30 days, it’s time to talk to a professional because you deserve to be happy too.

Wishing you all the health, wealth, abundance and joy,

Angie

Angie McMann, M.H.W.P.

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