I was browsing the New York Times on Saturday 23rd February in a Starbucks near Seattle (how very America that sounds right?) and a great piece by journalist Kevin Roose grabbed my attention.
Get the full article here
The reason I was interested was I’d just finished reading Your Happiness was Hacked co-authored by Alex Salkever https://www.amazon.com/Your-Happiness-Was-Hacked-Brain/dp/1523095849.
Kevin rightly ponders if obsessive or excessive use is indeed an addiction in the true sense of the word. Although cell phone addiction is not yet listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5 th Edition (DSM-5), research has compared it to gambling addiction, which has clearer diagnostic criteria and is included in the DSM-5.
Kevin noted some classical symptoms of heavy-use moving into unhealthy-use
- incapable of reading books
- unable to watch full length movies
- struggling to maintain uninterrupted conversation- on this. Have you head there’s a word to describe when you snub someone in favour of checking your phone? #phubbing
- finding online engagement that used to provide pleasure, no longer , infact making him anxious or angry
How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain
Kevin needed his phone (as a Tech writer, made sense) and here’s a summary of the support he had from a coach
- Address the root cause of phone obsession, the emotional triggers in order to unhook from harmful routines.
- Gather statistics- make it visible and become accountable e.g. how many times you pick up, how many minutes per day doing what.
Kevin noted 5 hours 37 minutes in one day …picking up the phone 101 times.
3. Create mental speed bumps to slow and think
- a rubber band around the phone which has to be removed first
- change the lock screen to 3 questions WHAT FOR? WHY NOW? WHAT ELSE?
- become aware of bizarre habits i.e. checking email while brushing teeth
- become aware how you deal (or not) with stillness
- watch people and life instead of the screen in transit
4. Phones not in bedrooms or, in one case, purchase a safe with combination and give the phone it’s own panic-room experience!
5. Do something interesting with the 5 hours a day you get back.
Kevin ultimate discovery was greater self-awareness and therefore, self-regulation.
Full article THE NEW YORK TIMES BUSINESS SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2019