Hi, my name is Selene and I'm addicted to my phone. Does that phrase sound like you?
Until a month ago, I was on my phone for a minimum of eight hours a day. It was a full-time job from the moment I woke up. Every morning, I would reach over to my nightstand and grab my black Samsung Galaxy S7. It was the first thing I looked in the mornings and the last thing I saw before going to bed. I would swiftly press the CNN News app, followed by checking all social media updates and ending with cleaning my email inbox filled with spam and promotions. Every day would start the same – high anxiety, overthinking, and discouragement, all because I couldn't tear myself away from my phone and the constant depressive updates.
I was completely addicted. It was an unhealthy cycle that fueled my anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One of the symptoms I struggle most with my PTSD is catastrophizing. Every day, I am always in a battle with my brain to not jump to extreme conclusions and worst-case scenarios. Looking at my phone first thing in the morning and consistently throughout the day was pouring more fuel on the fire for my already heightened anxiety and stress.
Now-a-days, all news seems to be disheartening and sad. If you're like me and look at your phone first thing in the morning and way too much throughout the day, try these alternatives to ease away from your technology. It won't be easy, but take it a day at a time.
1) Put your phone on the other side of the room. This was one of the first steps I did to make myself get out of bed quicker in the mornings and not look at my phone right away. Trust me, I hated it and it was hard, but it has been paying off. Normally, I would look and my phone and lay in bed longer, which made me depressed and harder to get out of bed due to the information I was consuming. Place your device at the furthest point in your room to make you get up. I've noticed I have more energy when I get up right away and get distracted by what I need to do to get ready for the day.
2) Silence your apps. The CNN News app was the first app I would look at on my phone. It had the most updates and the most negative information. It was the source of my negativity and stress that extended throughout the day. If there is an app that causes you stress and anxiety, mute it. This will reduce the amount of updates that you receive throughout the day and help ease your mind and anxiety.
3) Take a break from social media. This doesn't have to be something you give up for lent once a year. Try logging out of your social media for a few days at a time and see how you feel. It won't be easy, but take your time. During that time, focus on other things that you enjoy or haven't done in quite some time that brings you satisfaction and happiness.
4) Try Mindful Meditation. This only takes ten minutes out of your day to complete. YouTube offers ten-minute guided meditation videos that calm and relax your mind if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. I have completed these sessions right when I wake up in the morning or right before I go to bed to help ease any tension or anxiety I may be experiencing. It will help you feel more relaxed and help center yourself and your mind.
Technology is one of the best and worst inventions. While you are able to stay in touch more frequently with people and access information quickly, it also means you are constantly tied to your device. Sure, staying up to date and being involved is good, but too much can be overwhelming and depressing. Start your day on a happy, energetic note. Quit your phone in the mornings and gradually throughout the day to reduce your anxiety and to have more positive days ahead.
Written by Selene Jones