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Is Your Phone Ruining Your Life?

Picture this - you're out with a few friends or family members, laughing and joking, having a great time. Your phone vibrates in your pocket. You're not expecting any messages, but you instantly feel compelled to find out why it alerted you.

Perhaps someone commented on your most recent tweet, or a friend you don't know liked your picture of your dinner from 6 months ago. Why do we feel the need to jump at it as soon as the phone tells us? After researching this problem for a few months, I've come up with a few possible reasons:

Self-Importance. Our phones have given us a sense of false self-importance. Every app within the device will let us know instant updates, no matter how urgent. The notifications are there to remind you that the app is still there - the more you use the app, the better it is for the developer. Nevertheless, we crave attention, even if it's subconsciously. We're that important in our own eyes, that we need to check our phones as soon as we can. It's become second nature.

Addiction. The founder of Instagram described it as 'visual crack'. He's not wrong. How many times have you caught yourself scrolling through photos of people you don't know, and before you know it, it's an hour later? A scary statistic - we touch our faces between 2,000 and 3,000 times per day. However, we touch our phones 2,500+ times each day. Should you really be relying on your phone as much as your face?! Of a survey I conducted of 124 people, only 6 were self aware enough to admit they were addicted to their phones. Are you?

Dependency. Have you ever been waiting in line for something and instinctively reached for your phone? Chances are you're not doing that because you're scared you may have missed something in the previous few minutes, but rather because you need your phone to feel safe and secure. There's a number of potential reasons why you think you need it to be safe, but the truth is, you don't need it - the phone needs you.

Looking for some advice?

Turn off Notifications. Take back control of your life by reaching for your phone when you need it. Don't let it take charge by telling you when to check it. Phonecalls and text messages can be received, but you really don't need to know when Facebook tell you that your friend you haven't spoken to in 3 years has a birthday. Reach for your phone on your terms.

Delete Unused Apps and Accounts. It's time to streamline your digital world. Having unused apps and accounts is a result of a disorganised world. Get rid of what you don't frequent, or has no purpose for you whatsoever. It's really not complicated. You may struggle at first, but find the easiest option to begin with - momentum will build quickly.

Find A Hobby. When you take up a hobby, what you're really doing is becoming interesting. Whether its rock climbing, cross-stitching, an instrument, you're increasing your knowledge base, and the next time you meet a friend or a new person into your life, you'll have something to talk about other than what the Kardashians are up to online. Time spent away from your screen is worth far more than you can imagine.

So we've really only scratched the surface of this major problem, but rest assured, we'll tackle it some more in the near future. Stay tuned for that. And in the meantime, remember, you're awesome.