Mobile phones can be a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, they make our lives so convenient with everything at the touch of a button, including our loved ones. On the other hand, they’re a safety blanket, number 1 tool for procrastination, and the enemy of mindfulness and real life connection. Having so much at our fingertips can create a compulsive need to fill every second with something, not to mention that dreaded feeling of FOMO. So how do you regain control over your phone usage?

Notice the Mindless Routine.
Checking our phone can quickly become an automated response to boredom or a conditioned routine with no real reason. Has anyone really posted something unmissable on Facebook since you last checked 3 minutes ago? Bring your awareness into the moment and start paying attention to why you’re about to check your phone. Notice what emotions or thoughts may be present and challenge whether you’re looking at your phone for a legitimate reason or because it was the 10th impulse in the last hour. If you can become aware of how your phone affects you, you can decide how you wish to respond rather than reacting automatically.

Create Phone-Free Spaces.
Find situations or environments that can be electronic-free zones, especially if you’re sharing an experience with others. Meal times are a good starting point so everyone can be fully present to savour their food and enjoy the company to maintain and strengthen interpersonal connections. The bedroom is a great space from which to ban phones too. Good sleep hygiene mandates no screen time for up to 2 hours before going to sleep for a restful, anxiety-free night. May we recommend reading a book or spending time with your partner instead?

Connectivity vs Comparison on Social Media.
Social media can increase feelings of connectivity and provide a platform for communication, especially across long distances but it can also encourage comparisons between your life and others’. We’re often conscious of people only sharing their best side or using photo filters, yet we still tend to compare our real life to the constructed online identities of others. This can lead to anxiety or feelings of insecurity and don’t get us started on heightened feelings of inadequacy based on the need for social validation. Pay attention to how you feel when using social media and decide whether it benefits your mental health and your mood.