Cell phone users BEWARE: Find out how to avoid serious health issues

cell-phone-use(NaturalHealth365)  You see it everywhere.  People walking around, heads down, staring at their phones.  At restaurants, people sit across from each other and don’t say a word because they are so engrossed in their phones.  In grocery stores, mothers shop with children in tow, but they barely notice because their phones have their attention.  And the children just look around, alone, with no interaction with mom.

Smartphone addiction is real, and it can cause some serious problems for you.

They say it’s just a sign of the times, but is it really?  Do we really have to resign ourselves to the fact that people will be addicted to their mobile devices, and there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do about it?  No.  There are grave consequences that come with excessive use of your smartphone or mobile device.

Excessive cell phone use damages brain health, shortens memory

There are some serious, even alarming, consequences of excessive phone use.  Studies found changes in brain function, an increase in consuming unhealthy foods (sugar in particular), and a dehumanizing effect.

These are some of the issues scientists, doctors, and sociologists have raised concerning device overuse.

  • It has a dehumanizing effect.  You have probably seen people treat others horribly online, trolling, bullying, and just being nasty.  There is a dynamic of excessive device use that causes a degree of dehumanization to occur.  People spend so much time in the virtual world and don’t interact with real people in the real world.  They forget that there are real, thinking, feeling human beings on the other side of the screen.  They don’t have to face humanity, so they can be just as cruel to the computer as they like.  The thing is, it isn’t the computer that is getting hurt.
  • It shortens your memory.  Most people use their smartphones as a computer, looking up information, reading articles, and doing research.  Several studies have found that accessing information in this way actually changes the way the brain handles information.  It does not retain the information the same as if it was in a book.  Instead, only “highlights” are remembered, and the rest is forgotten with the assurance that it can be easily accessed with a few clicks.
  • It alters the way your brain processes information.  The human brain processes information from a computer differently than when the information comes from a real-world source such as a book or human being.  The human brain has a hardwired ability to read people’s facial expressions, which is a fundamental part of our ability to feel empathy and successfully navigate social interactions.
  • It causes continuous partial attention.  Continuous partial attention, or CPS, is the inability to focus on one thing but skimming many different sources of information instead.  This affects not just how the information is retained but how it is utilized.
  • It can affect your decision-making capabilities.  A study of medical school students in China found that even though the subjects had a high nutrition health literacy, they still made very poor choices regarding their consumed food, namely sugar.  There is a link between excessive smartphone use and impulsivity, leading to poor decision-making.

Smartphone overuse can also affect your sleep, leave you feeling fatigued, block your creativity, cause you to feel lonely, increase your stress, negatively impact your critical thinking abilities, and more.

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Don’t get me wrong, technology is great in many ways.  But, when the use of mobile devices becomes excessive and obsessive, it’s time to make a change.

Take the “test” and find out if you’re addicted to your smartphone

Cell phone addiction is very real, and it can be detrimental to you on a physical and mental level.  It can harm your relationships, affect your job, and cause problems at school.

Take a moment to be brutally honest with yourself.  Do any of these symptoms of smartphone addiction apply to you?

  • You can’t just sit and talk to someone without your phone in your hand – and checking it frequently or looking at it while talking to them.
  • You have symptoms of digital eye strain, which is discomfort and pain caused by viewing a digital screen for more than two hours.
  • Your phone use has put a relationship at risk.
  • You have a “text neck.”
  • Your phone use has caused problems for you on your job.
  • You have been in a car accident or had a near-miss because you were on your phone while driving.
  • You turn to your phone when you have feelings of depression, anxiety, or rejection.
  • You feel compelled to pick up your phone frequently, even while driving.
  • The majority of your experiences are tied to your phone.
  • Your primary way to interact with people is digital.
  • You have problems with sleep.
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you cannot use your phone
    • Depression
    • Anger
    • Restlessness
    • Tension
    • Irritability
  • Your phone is the first thing you interact with when you get up in the morning.
  • You feel anxious when you are not using your phone or can’t use it.
  • Do you spend more time on your phone than you realize, or are you surprised to learn how much time you spend on your phone?
  • Has your screen time been increasing?
  • Do you frequently check your phone even when you know there is nothing important or new to see?
  • Do you bring your phone to your meals, and are you on it while you are eating?
  • When you sleep, is your phone next to your bed or under your pillow?
  • Do you wake during the night to check your phone?
  • Do you use your phone when you should be doing other things such as work, housework, homework, or taking care of your kids?
  • Do you feel an intense need to have your phone on you at all times?
  • Do you think you might be addicted to your phone?

Answering yes to just five of these questions could indicate an addiction; however, if you answered yes to more than one of the questions, you may want to take a look at your phone use and cut back.

Not sure where to start?  We have some tips to help.

Want to kick your mobile device habit?

You can break your smartphone addiction.  Here are some ways to get started.

  • Set aside one day a week to turn it off.  A digital device fast can be a very effective way to reduce your screen time.
  • Set aside a certain amount of time every day to put down your phone.
  • Remove any apps that are useless or that pose distractions.
  • Try an app that helps you limit your screen time, such as AppDetox or SociaFever
  • Set long or complex passcode on your phone and set your screen to a short shut-off time.
  • Charge your phone in another room instead of by your bed – and if you use your phone to wake you in the morning, get an alarm clock.
  • Use functions like airplane mode or do not disturb.
  • Turn off the notifications on your phone.
  • Put your phone away when you are with people and at meals.
  • When you feel the need to get on your phone, distract yourself by taking a walk, working out, or going to meet a friend.
  • Turn your phone off when you are in a store or out with friends.
  • Leave your phone in the car when you go somewhere.

If you find that you just can’t do it on your own, don’t be afraid to reach out to a health coach for help.  They can help you find an addiction specialist who can assist you in getting free.

Just remember, you can put an end to your smartphone addiction and get back into the real world – and it’s worth it.

Sources for this article include:

MDPI.com
Intel.com
Harvard.edu
Colby.edu
TheVisionCouncil.org
NIH.gov
AddictionCenter.com

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