Addicted to your smartphone? How it’s affecting your health and social life. By Sasha Gonzales
Your smartphone could be bad for you. (Photo: kaboompics / www.pixabay.com)
While smartphones have made our lives more convenient, there is no denying that our attachment to them is a bane to our physical, emotional and mental well-being. (Also see: 3 reasons why you are addicted to your smartphone.)
THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF SMARTPHONE ADDICTION
1. Your smartphone addiction is causing your lack of focus
“It can steal your focus away from what’s happening around you,” says Elisabetta Franzoso, author and well-being trainer and coach from Inside Out You Coaching & Training, “not to mention, affect your ability to think, concentrate and make sound decisions.”
2. Your smartphone addiction is resulting in poor sleep
“Plus, if you keep your phone at your bedside at night, your sleep may be disrupted. You can’t wind down and get a good night’s rest if you’re constantly waking up to check your messages,” adds Elisabetta.
3. Your smartphone addiction is the reason why you are #notsocial
It’s highly possible that your smartphone addiction is hurting your social life. Face it, who wants to be with someone who doesn’t pay attention to them?
“If you’re disengaged (read: always on your phone), people might soon start avoiding you because they are made to feel unworthy of your time,” says Daniel Koh, a psychologist at Insights Mind Centre. “Plus, it shows that you have no socialisation skills.”
4. Your smartphone addiction could increase tension and anxiety
Phone addiction can also cause or increase tension and anxiety. “It’s hard to feel settled or relaxed when you’re always expecting an alert to sound,” says Daniel.
Chuck the phone and head out for some quality time with your loved ones. (Photo: nikolapeskova / www.pixabay.com)
5. Your smartphone addiction is robbing you of a well-balanced life
Scrolling through your apps while in bed may not be as productive or beneﬁcial as, say, going for a walk, spending time with your loved ones, or just doing something good for yourself. “We all need interests or hobbies, activities that make us feel whole – and that use our talents, challenge us or help us relax,” says Daniel.
6. Your smartphone addiction could trigger other (physical) ailments
For one, you could have cubital tunnel syndrome, where the ulnar nerve that runs along the back of the elbow is compressed. Symptoms include feeling a sting along your elbow, or tingling in your ring and little fingers. This could happen when your arms are bent for long periods. In serious cases, surgery might be needed to relieve the pressure.
More bad news: Your handset could harbour more harmful germs than a ﬂush handle in the men’s toilet, according to a study conducted in the UK. (Swab your smartphone with alcohol wipes if you don’t want to catch something nasty. And stop bringing it to the toilet with you already!)
HOW TO FIX YOUR SMARTPHONE ADDICTION
First, acknowledge your problem If you think your gadget has got you in a stranglehold and is running your life, it’s important to ﬁrst acknowledge that you might have a problem and then understand why you cannot get away from your phone.
Take note of your usage Being aware of how much you are actually spending on your smartphone is a good start. Daniel suggests recording the amount of time you spend on it daily, and then working out ways to reduce the usage; take baby steps to break the dependence.
Place restrictions on yourself Elisabetta recommends placing restrictions on yourself, such as not bringing your phone along when you go out to dinner, or allowing yourself just a few hours a day with it. Then, gradually add more rules until you reach a point where not being on your gadget makes you feel okay.
“Because you can’t find happiness in a screen.” (Photo: PublicDomainPictures / www.pixabay.com)
At the end of the day, what you stand to gain are feelings of liberation and peace, and more quality time for yourself and your loved ones. “You will also understand that pleasure is not something to be sought outside of yourself,” adds Daniel, “because you can’t ﬁnd happiness in a screen.”