I thought I had made it through my teens and 20's without succumbing to addiction like many Americans before me had. Until one day, I realized that I had built a relationship with my iPhone that I just couldn't quit.

This is going to sound weird, but it was kind of my closest friend, we did everything together. I brought it on all of my favorite trips, watched my cat grow up from a kitten into a full fledged Insta-famous feline. When I needed a kick in the butt it helped me to find motivation, I brought my phone to bed, it entertained me on flights, and embarrassingly enough it even came to the bathroom with me on more than one occasion.

Heaven forbid I left the house without my tiny electronic friend.

When we think of addicts, we think of addictions of alcohol, to drugs, or even to shopping or gambling. But when you look around, you'll see that many people have a far more common, yet no less serious addiction to their phone.  

Yes, smartphone addiction is a real thing. The urge to check your phone can be almost irresistible,and it starts to control your life. Here are five steps to beating a phone addiction, and reclaiming your life.

1. Don't check your phone first thing in the morning.

You open your eyes in the morning and the first thing you do? Reach for your phone, which is conveniently plugged in on your night stand. If this is you, and you've checked your email and all your social media platforms before you've even fully opened your eyes, you may have a problem.

This is what worked for me, I kept my phone away from the bed and showered and made coffee before looking at my phone. This also helped me to hit snooze less as I actually had to get out of bed to turn off my alarm.

2. Work with your phone on silent, if possible.

Many of us have jobs where we use cell phones and need to keep in touch with people. Even so, having a phone go off every few minutes next to your computer when you are trying to work is a huge distraction. Your brain needs uninterrupted time to concentrate if you are to give 100 percent of your attention to the task at hand.

Here's what I did to resolve this, I again kept my phone on silent and focused on my work. This way, you will be less tempted to answer every little social media alert.

3. Make your vehicle a no-phone zone.

Driving and talking or texting is one of the most dangerous things you can do on a daily basis. Every year, hundreds of people lose their lives on the road due to driving and texting. All it takes is one moment of inattention. Put your phone in the backseat, shut it off for the duration of your drive, or put it somewhere you can't reach, so you won't be tempted to use it.

4. Live in the now.

Let's say you are having a coffee or a meal with a friend. Give that person your full attention and do not look at your phone. The person in front of you is always more important than the person on the other end of that text. It's also considered to be mighty rude to use your phone when you are out with someone else.

I was reminded of this by my neighbor. She re-taught me the importance of being present recently on our weekly trip to the farmers market and I now give myself a proverbial slap on the wrist when I catch myself slipping.

5. Don't let your phone time rob you of sleep.

If you find that you are up late at night browsing Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or surfing the Internet in bed, cut it out now. I fall victim to this all the time, and trust me at 4am cat videos are not important. Set a rule that you won't use your phone (or computer) for an hour before bed. This will actually allow your mind to wind down, and prepare for sleep.

If you're reading this thinking, "Wow, she's way more addicted to her phone than I am I don't need to change anything about my habits" then think again. Perhaps you'll catch yourself doing one or more of the habits mentioned above, and remember these tips and actually put them to use. We could all do a better job of living in the moment.

Published on: Feb 12, 2018
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