How much time do you spend staring at your phone screen? If you're like nearly 50% of American adults, you may spend between five and six hours on your smartphone per day. And while it's true that smartphones make our lives easier in a number of ways, many people are wasting too much time on their phones. Logging nearly a workday’s worth of hours on your phone each day can not only subconsciously affect your mental health but can also, more consciously, keep you from enjoying other areas of your real-world life.
If you’re looking to adopt healthier phone habits in your household, here are some practical tips that you can implement today and valuable benefits you’ll experience immediately.
1. Take a social media "vacation."
Social media is easily one of the biggest "time sinks" related to cell phone use. Its use also lends itself to "doom scrolling," which is mindlessly scrolling through negative posts. This kind of constant negativity can have a seriously impact on your mood and wellbeing, possibly leading to stress, anxiety, or depression.
Consider taking a hiatus from social media to see what a difference this can make in your mood and productivity. If a complete hiatus isn't something you're comfortable with, you might simply limit your social media scrolling to 20-30 minutes per day. Many smartphones now have settings where you can receive an alert once you've spent a certain amount of time on any given app.
2. Try health and wellness apps.
There are plenty of free and paid apps that are worth exploring to improve your health and wellness. Download a free meditation and mindfulness app like Smiling Mind to nurture your mental health. Physical fitness apps, such as Workout Trainer, can also walk you through a wide range of exercises to help you achieve your fitness goals.
3. Cut down on blue light.
All electronics with screens, including smartphones, emit blue light. Unfortunately, too much exposure to blue light (especially during the evening hours) can inhibit your body's natural production of melatonin. As a result, you may find that you struggle to fall or stay asleep.
Fortunately, many phones have a "night light" setting that reduces the intensity of blue light. Make use of the feature at night and experience the sleep benefits first-hand.
4. Set up "do not disturb" mode.
There's nothing worse than being inundated with smartphone notifications while you're trying to rest or be present with loved ones. Taking advantage of your phone's "do not disturb" mode makes all the difference. When "do not disturb" is activated, you won’t typically receive any notifications—and your phone's sound will be muted until the mode is disabled.
Doing this can be a great way to spend dedicated time away from your phone and avoid interruptions. On many phones, you can even program this mode to automatically engage at a certain time each day.
5. Designate "phone-free" zones.
Last but not least, consider designating some areas of your home where you don't even keep your phone on you. For example, you might decide that phones will not be allowed at the dinner table in your household. Instead, you and your loved ones can focus on catching up with each other and eating your food more mindfully.
The Bottom Line on Healthy Phone Habits
A little effort goes a long way in creating healthier phone habits not only for yourself, but also for your loved ones. Give these simple yet effective habits a try to see just how much they can impact your overall happiness and well-being!