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Overcoming Cell Phone Addiction
Staff Writer

Addiction is usually defined as something that begins to control your life and starts interfering with your day-to-day activities, work, and relationships.  While talking about addiction, we may often think of someone who wakes up to a glass of scotch instead of a cup of tea. However, with the proliferation of technology, signs of addiction are now found in the form of staring at cell phone screens as well.

Let’s say you are out for a long-anticipated dinner with your colleagues. The conversation is interesting and upbeat when all of a sudden one of your co-workers pulls out his cell phone to post a picture on Instagram. The same thing can occur during family meals too.

It is pretty common to brush off such incidents as etiquette issues or bad manners. But, the reality may be far more complicated than it appears. A survey conducted by Bank of America on cell phone usage concluded that approximately one-third of the respondents check their cell phones “constantly.” The survey also found that over 66% of the respondents go to bed with their cell phone by their side.

Are you addicted to your cell phone?

If you check your cell phone the first thing in the morning - even before you get out of bed, you might be suffering from cell phone addiction. If you are using the Facebook app on your cell phone while attending a business meeting, check your email while in the elevator after just having left your workstation, quickly do a search on your phone when you cannot remember a word, movie or book, send a text during dinner with your family, check your phone before you go to bed – you may be addicted. Think about it, replace that quick glance at your cell phone with a swig of alcohol or a toke on a cigarette.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of cell phone addiction:

1. If you have the habit of checking your cell phone to see the current time instead of looking at a clock that is right next to you or your watch on your wrist.

2. Reach out for the phone whenever you feel bored or lonely.

3. You purchased a cell phone with a huge 4000mAh battery and yet it doesn’t last the day. / You find yourself charging your phone multiple times a day because you have used up your battery surfing, playing a game or talking on the phone.

4. You experience symptoms of stress, anxiety, and panic when you think you have or you have lost your phone - even if just for a minute.

5. You take your phone to the bathroom.

6. You check your phone constantly for messages, calls or email notifications.

7. You use your cell phone to help fall asleep.

8. How to recover from cell phone addiction

Tips for Overcoming Cell Phone Addiction

Cell phone addiction can take a toll on your work-related productivity and personal relationships. If you are missing out on living a healthy and fulfilled life due to cell phone addiction, these tips will help you manage the problem.

  • Monitor your cell phone usage: Track how often you use your mobile phone, this will increase your awareness about the problem and help you to identify the possible opportunities to put your phone away. Track your cell phone use by simply viewing the “screen on time”, which is available under the battery icon in most models.

  • Put your phone away: Having a phone close by while you are working is a big distraction.  So, put your phone in a place where you won’t be able to see it.

  • Tweak your phone settings: If a notification sounds every time you receive a Facebook notification or an email, consider changing the settings. Make sure your phone will alert you only when someone calls or texts you. This way you can prevent yourself from being distracted by your phone for every small thing.

  • Stop virtual networking and get real: Limit the amount of time you spend on social networks. Social networking is a major contributor of cell phone addiction. When you are sharing a meal or a coffee with someone, stop thinking about your virtual friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and focus on the real person that’s in front of you.

  • Try doing something else to direct your attention away from your cell phone: The next time you feel the urge to use your cell phone for no reason, think about something else. Look at the sky, talk with a neighbor, stretch, or listen to your surroundings – these will help you resist the temptation of playing with your cell phone.

If it’s really hard for you to put down your cell phone, what can you do? Well, you can’t give up your device entirely, but you can certainly set aside no-phone time zones and practice new habits like the ones mentioned above. Cell phone addiction, like every other form of addiction, is a very personal thing and it depends on your resolve to control the urge to use your phone. However, a little will power will go a long way in coming out of the shackles of cell phone addiction.

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