Digital detox: How to free yourself from your smartphone

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

Since the law went into effect that we cannot text and drive, it draws attention to how frequently we may be absentmindedly looking at our phones at inappropriate times: sitting at a red light, while eating dinner or during family time.

Josh Spector from fortheinterested.com said step one to being free from the phone is to never check it while driving.

“Put your phone in the glove compartment and close it, put it away, turn it off, do whatever you sort of have to do initially to break that habit,” he said.

Breaking the habit himself gave him more meaning when he was using it, and he said it only took a few days following a few guidelines to adjust to not looking at it constantly.

The steps on how he did it were originally published on fortheinterested.com

He said that article has been shared and republished on so many platforms, indicating to him that people are looking for ways to unhook from their devices.

One of his most helpful tips might be to turn off notifications.

“There is a lot of science and engineering behind developing these things in a way that of course they're going to draw to you. That's not a battle that you're going to win. So, it's not that you're weak, I think it's important to understand that ‘okay what can I control in this?’ I can control a framework around it so that I’m controlling when I look at this stuff and then I’m getting the value out of it as opposed to it getting the value out of me.”

Without notifications, he said he was able to post statuses and walk away.

“I saw whenever I post something I’m constantly refreshing to see what's happening with it,” he said. “It's a really different feeling when you come back and check after an hour, a couple hours whatever, because now instead of seeing that post have maybe one or two likes or no likes, it has 10 likes or 15 likes.”

Plus, he asked how looking at two screens at once is beneficial. So, while watching TV, Spector started putting his phone away.

“I started putting my phone on a table across the room, and it suddenly became more of a pain to get up during the commercial to go get the phone to check it,” Spector said.

His rules also include not looking at the phone before bed or early in the morning.

“So many people's instinct, and it used to be mine as well, would be you wake up first thing in the morning and you check email. What you’re really doing when you're doing that is instantly inviting all of your stress, anxiety, everything sort of into your day before your day has really even begun.”

Putting the phone down before bed is also a recommended way to improve your sleep.

Another helpful tip, he puts a limit on mindless surfing. When he wants to check Facebook or Twitter, he said he times it for 20 minutes and promptly stops.

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