Excessive cell phone use is a trend that is growing every day. We are consumed with life behind the screen. But why? Because often, in the digital world, flowers are blooming and the sun is always shining.

Many of us seek and gain validation from likes and comments on photos or ideas we post online, and naturally, we crave more of that every day. But when does this craving become obsessive and possibly an addiction? Many individuals form a smartphone addiction because they can’t live without the acceptance and information they have access to on their devices.

We should avoid getting trapped in the infatuation of what we receive from our phones. But it’s hard not to. It has become the norm to automatically check your phone if you’re in the elevator with a stranger or walking down the street on your way somewhere. We do this unintentionally because it’s become a habit for us. It almost feels weird not to check our phones every five minutes. We begin to feel lost, out of place, and even insecure at times.

So, how do you know if you have an addiction? Many people wonder this regularly.

There are many signs of smartphone addiction which can be but are not limited to:

  • Feeling extremely anxious if your phone battery dies or if you lose service;
  • Using your phone up until the minute you go to bed and checking it the minute you wake up;
  • Sleeping with your phone on your bed;
  • Reaching for your phone in times of anxiety or depression;
  • Mindlessly passing time by looking at your phone;

Engaging in these activities or experiencing any of these situations could be a possible indication of smartphone addiction. These factors can lead to a multitude of interpersonal and physical ailments, and it can be very hard to break the cycle of feeling dependent on your phone.

The Effects of Cell Phone Addiction

  • “Text Neck” – By consistently looking down, chronic smartphone users can start experiencing something known as text neck. This is usually used to describe neck pain and damage to the neck muscles from always lowering your neck to look downward.
  • Accidents – When you are consumed with what is on your phone, you become unaware of your surroundings. This can lead to accidents, especially car accidents, if you are looking at our phone while driving.
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder – In some cases, smartphone addiction can create OCD patterns or symptoms including: repeated habits (in extreme cases checking your phone over 800 times a day) and sleep disturbances.
  • Relationship issues – If you have to constantly ask your partner to put their phone away, or if you find that you’re out to dinner with friends and can’t seem to stop checking your phone, it can be detrimental to building genuine relationships.

Mental health is completely ignored when you rely on your phone constantly. Stress and anxiety come into play taking away from your happiness, which leads to an attempt to fix that feeling with more cell phone use — and the unhealthy cycle continues.

Let’s start building the conversation of breaking out of smartphone addiction. What can you do to overcome the stress and anxiety of feeling obsessed with your phone? There are so many ways to slowly incorporate habits of not relying on your phone in your everyday life. See below for ways that will help you overcome your addiction:

  1. Placing your phone far away from you. This ensures that temptation is far away. When it’s out of arm’s reach, it’s easier to avoid checking it for no reason.
  2. Remove sound notifications. The little “ding” sound is telling you “check me now”. When in reality, it shouldn’t be a demand. You can decide on your own time when to check a message or a notification.
  3. Putting a timer on your phone use. If you check your phone for one email and then it turns into checking all your social media and an hour goes by, you can monitor this by setting a timer. Set aside only 15 minutes so you don’t go through an hour of scrolling.
  4. Replace the habit. Breaking your addiction isn’t always beneficial. Sometimes, replacing it is the better answer. Pick up a new hobby of painting or a new exercise.

These are all helpful ways to overcome phone addiction. A few simple shifts can relieve stress and tension once you turn them into a habit and consistently follow through. Engage physically with the people you love and care about and put technology lower down on the list of priorities.

Addictions start when there’s a void in your life. So, start tackling these voids early, without the help of your phone. Talk to a friend or a therapist about your what’s missing from life, instead of burying your nose in your phone.