January 10, 2019

Are you a Smartphone Addict? Maybe it’s Time to go into Recovery.

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Where does one find joy?

When I think about my happiest moments, some include lying under the starry summer night skies, learning to dance bachata on the streets of Miami, chats with friends over a drink in a local coffee shop, or hikes in Los Angeles.

I find joy in creating something out of boredom, in noticing beautiful patterns on a dress, or morning light coming in through a window. These little quiet moments allow for time to think, breathe, reset, and to clearly decide next steps of action.

I experience joy when I’m fully present in the moment.

As a blogger, photographer, and jewelry designer, my phone and social media are essential parts of my job. I often find inspiration in the visual content, and am uplifted by the comments shared on social media platforms.

However, I can miss joyful moments when I’m too engrossed. Social media has its place and its time, and that is not 24-7. It’s all about balance.

Social media companies are aware of the negative effects of their platforms on the mental health of the users. When one goes on social media and receives likes and engagement, it can boost serotonin, enticing one to return to the application. The application is most likely on a phone, which is accessible in a pocket or purse, making it easy to use throughout the day. It can distract from work, friends, family, and from being present.

Social media companies have taken on more responsibility for the mental health of their users. For example, in your personal settings on YouTube, it’s possible to turn on notifications that pop up at 30 or 60-minute intervals. It says, “Time to take a break? You’ve been watching for 30 minutes. Adjust or turn off this reminder in Settings.” There are two buttons below the notification that say “Settings” or “Dismiss.” A similar reminder can be set in the Instagram app.

The newest operating system for Apple’s iPhone shows how much time one has spent on the device 0n any given day and the percentage of time spent on each app. To find this information, go to “Settings” and then “Battery.”

Implementing notifications and observing the amount of time spent on devices are great ways to better mental health. A few more that I like to use are below:

  1. Leave the phone/computer/tablet untouched for the first hour after waking up. Have a cup of coffee, breakfast, shower, maybe do some yoga. After a certain time in the evening, turn the phone off, only allowing authorized or favorite callers to come through in case of emergency.
  2. Have Wi-Fi turned on/off automatically. There are programs that can be used for this, such as “Freedom.”
  3. Remove apps from the device that are the most time-consuming.
  4. Once or twice a year, allow a weekend “retreat” from technology. Go somewhere where there is no cellular service or put devices on airplane mode if there is still service—that way the camera can still be used but calls won’t come through. Camping trips are great for this. Notify close friends and family members prior to leaving so they are aware.
  5. Treat cell phones like home phones if going somewhere close by where service or a ride share app isn’t needed (we wouldn’t want to be stranded).

It’s okay to take care of mental health. In fact, it’s necessary!

It’s so much more important to spend time with family and friends and be present in the moment than it is to check and update social media daily.

After an extended break from my phone, I’m able to show up stronger for myself and my business, with renewed creative energy and inspiration.

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