Put the Phone Down: Three Ways to Decrease Screen Time for Your Wellbeing

Dr. John Townsend

August 10, 2018

Fact: We are simply on our phones too much. A recent study found that people spend over 4 hours a day on mobile phones last year, or around 86 hours a month!

The bigger problem, of course, is the fact that too much screen time is not enough to cause most of us to change our behavior.

“I gained a couple pounds” or “I don’t work out enough” aren’t the motivators they SHOULD be to put the phone down.

Three Positive Benefits of Decreasing Mobile Screen Time

Here are a few of the positive benefits of using your mobile device less. Ideally, so the “less” becomes “more” for you!

Increased energy. We all need more energy and, truthfully, we’re all pretty fatigued. Energy doesn’t come from phone screen time. In fact, concentrating and focusing for extended periods of time on a little screen can make you tired, as it’s a lot of work. Two of the most reliable sources of energy are positive face-to-face experiences with other people and activities that require movement. If you put the phone in your pocket and connect with another person or do something with your body, you will notice an increase in your energy level. Movement causes the brain to release endorphins.

Usable time.  While some phone usage is valuable, the vast majority of what we are actually doing on our phones is entertainment/social related: apps that let us see what everyone we know is doing, play games and stream video content. Think about all the usable time that’s being wasted! Thanks to our dependency on smartphones, we are seeing a new trend: people who have visions, passions, and goals to accomplish something meaningful are slowed down in their progress because the time is not there. The reality is that it’s actually there, but it’s in the form of less entertainment/social time on the phone. Look at your screen time like empty calories: they aren’t bad for you, but they aren’t helping you either. Prune back your phone screen time and use that to get moving on starting up your new business or pursuing your dream.  

Self-acceptance.  There is tons of research showing that, when we spend lots of time on our phones, we stray into comparisons with others: who is more successful, who has a better family, is better-looking, etc.  This comparison can become never-ending and spirals downhill quickly.

Also, you almost NEVER come out happy with yourself. Stop comparing your life with the small pieces that others are choosing to share with you online. Instead, get more involved in your non-digital existence to reduce that debilitating feeling. You will be too busy living in the moment to compare yourself to anyone online!

You can read more of my thoughts on setting healthy boundaries in the digital landscape and how to keep your mobile devices from taking over your life here.

Love your mobile device, but be in charge of it. Use it when necessary, but walk away from it when you can.

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