We live in a very digital and tech-driven world. Through our cutting edge technology, we have achieved many incredible things, but along with this has come many unforeseen consequences, especially when it comes to our personal well-being. According to a 2017 study by Medium Corporation, college students ages 18-24 spend over four hours a day on their phones. If you do the math, you essentially lose a day a week to your phone. Even if you cut your daily phone usage in half, imagine how much time you can save in a day, a month, or even a year!
Our generation’s excessive phone usage has started to create negative effects on our mental health and relationships. That being said, there are little things we can do that go a long way towards reducing these effects and using our devices more effectively and in a heathier way.
The negative effects
High cell phone usage can have negative effects on our health. Researchers have found that excessive phone usage leads to stress, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and relationship issues. Studies have also shown that young people experience withdrawal symptoms when away from their phone for a short period of time. There are many negative effects, but rather than focusing on all the bad things, our goal is to give you some tools on how to improve and experience a clearer mind and better relationships.
How to improve – Tip #1
Our phones and tablets give off blue light rays that restrain the production of our melatonin, the hormone that controls our sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm. Using your phone before bed especially suppresses your melatonin, because that is when our brain is trying to produce the most to help us go to sleep. One of the best ways to avoid this is to charge your phone on the other side of your room. This will seem tough at first, but it pays dividends in the long term and will increase your mood and overall productivity for the next day. Grabbing a book or meditating instead is the healthier way to fall asleep. Also, if you have a problem getting up in the morning, charging your phone on the other side of the room with require you to get out of bed and turn it off, and you’ll be up and ready after a good night’s sleep.
How to improve – Tip #2
What are you doing in between classes? Chances are you are picking up your phone and mindlessly scrolling through social media or doing something else unproductive. Instead, you could be utilizing that time to plan out the rest of your day, maybe cooking a meal instead of buying one, or reviewing content from one of your classes that will allow you to gain additional time at the end of your day to relax and reflect. Any time that can be gained as a result of using your phone less will ultimately leave you feeling healthier and happier.
Positive effects once you improve
In this day and age, many of the relationships we build are virtual and not personal. We use our phones too often and tend to forget to focus on what is right in front of us. If you take the proper steps to gradually reduce your phone time, you will be able to connect better with those around you and have an overall higher sense of well-being. Using time between classes to do something productive and disconnecting from your phone at night is what we recommend. That being said, whatever works best for you will be most effective!