Smartphone use and stress

Our devices are amazing — but they can lead to compulsive use

Can you imagine life without your smartphone? For some of us, it’s the first thing we reach for in the morning and the last thing we put down at night.

At-our-fingertips technology is incredible and useful. But could you be too attached for your own good? It’s worth considering — particularly if compulsive phone use is affecting your life and relationships in a negative way.

7 smart questions to ask yourself

Some people need to stay connected for work or family situations. But that’s not true for all of us all the time. Be honest answering the questions below. You may gain some insights into whether you’re distracted for the worse.

  1. Do I automatically — and without necessity — check my phone?
  2. Do I often have a tough time getting things done because I’m on my phone?
  3. Do my phone habits cut into time I could use for sleep, exercise, and other healthier or rewarding activities?
  4. Do my friends and family comment on — or complain about — how much I’m on my phone or other devices?
  5. Do I get up at night to check my phone?
  6. Do I sometimes hide how much I use my phone?
  7. Would I feel irritable or anxious if I had to cut back on using it?

Striking a better balance

Did you answer “yes” more than you’d like? If so, you may be wondering how to move forward in a healthier way. It’s about finding what works for you. Here are a few practical tips to try:

Wean gradually

If you constantly check your phone, try a progressive plan. The first day, you might look every 20 minutes. The next day, make it a half hour, then hourly and so forth.

Set a timer

For example, give yourself a limit for browsing social media apps or playing a game.

Move your phone out of sight

Pledge that you’ll disconnect at specific times. While driving is an obvious one. Other good options: at mealtimes, when parenting or spending time with friends and family, and during your bedtime routine.