Smartphones have revolutionized the way we live, providing us with instant access to creative craft ideas, how-to guides, social updates or anything else we’d be interested in! Sometimes, though, convenience can come at a cost.
Many of us know by now that if you spend too much time looking at your phone, it’s easy to become distracted from the present moment. The craving for steady updates and the next fleeting diversion can prompt us to check out from reality for far too long. Now, scientists are finding there are also many other unintended risks associated with smartphone use. So, here are four tips for lessening or avoiding the risks we know about regarding smartphone use!
1. Be Mindful of Your Posture
Recent studies in biomechanics revealed that the constant forward tilt of heads may have led some young people to develop horn-like spikes in the backs of their skulls, as the added stress of looking down shifts weight away from the spine. Freaking yikes!
Your posture is important, so exercise caution when staring at your screen. If you’re on your phone, keep your head up, raising your phone to your eyes to make sure your body remains in a healthier stance. Recalibrating your go-to posture and how you engage with your smartphone will help you avoid over-stressing certain bones in your neck and back.
2. Don’t Obsess Over Social Status
Continuously scrolling through social media subjects you to a barrage of amazing, polished accounts of experiences others are having, which can make you feel inadequate and socially isolated if you begin to compare yourself to everyone else. These negative thoughts can do a lot of damage to your self-esteem and increase your anxiety.
You don’t need to cut off social media entirely — there’s a lot of good that can come from it, especially if you’re looking to connect with family and friends who may be far away. However, it’s best to use social media in moderation to ensure you’re protecting your own outlook on life and what you have.
Nancy Colier, a New York psychotherapist, wisely states, “It’s connections to other human beings — real-life connections, not digital ones — that nourish us and make us feel like we count.” Don’t sacrifice the quality of your relationships developed in-person by stressing over concerns you have in the digital sphere.
3. Protect Your Vision
Between the bright screens and small text you stare at while on your smartphone, there’s a lot of strain being put on your eyes. With so much visual information being consumed, your eyes are constantly attempting to refocus and reposition to process everything they’re seeing. With more than a third of U.S. adults reportedly spending 4 to 6 hours engaging with their phones, many people are at high risk for developing vision problems.
If you’re spending a lot of time on your phone, eye strain can be alleviated a number of ways. Be more mindful about cleaning your screen, dimming competing lighting and keeping a reasonable distance between your eyes and the screen.
You can also assess the quality of your eyesight by occasionally getting an eye exam, even if you’ve never needed glasses or contacts. Nowadays, you can even complete an eye exam online — a great solution for such a digitally-focused world. They only take about 10-15 minutes and all you need is a computer or smartphone.
4. Keep Your Phone Away from Your Bed
After a long day, it’s tempting to decompress and unwind by crawling into bed with the intention of spending some time on your smartphone before falling asleep.
While this may feel like a fulfilling practice to relax your mind, it’s instead rather counterproductive. The light from your phone disorients your brain, stimulating it to remain awake, which makes it even more difficult to fall asleep whenever you finally decide to put your phone down for the night.
Before tucking yourself into bed, pause to reflect on how much time you’d like to sleep. If your phone is likely to prohibit you from getting a desirable amount of sleep, then proactively fight against the impulse to look at it, keeping it away from your bed.
But what if you use your phone as an alarm clock?
Rather than risk the allure to stay up at night, consider using an old-fashioned alarm clock to wake you up in the morning. Not only will this help you commit to more appropriate bedtimes, it can also help you avoid remaining in bed to check your phone past when you’re supposed to get up to go in the morning!
Take Control of Your Well-Being
With a proper awareness for the health issues caused by smartphones, you can develop improved, intentional practices to take better care of yourself. Don’t let your phone control your well-being — take the initiative to make adjustments and enhance your quality of life.