Kick your smartphone addiction

Does your smartphone accompany you to the loo, the bath, whilst you’re out walking in nature? Do you check social media updates during dinner with your friends, work meetings or walking down the street? Do you send text messages at 2am in the morning when you can’t sleep? Or perhaps even when you’re having sex?

Dr. Judson Brewer, Director of Research at the Centre for Mindfulness and Associate Professor in Medicine and Psychiatry at UMass Medical School, refers to this kind of behaviour as addiction, which he defines as “continued use despite adverse consequences”.

Do you recognize any of these adverse consequences?

  1. A distracted mind: By default our minds are prone to distraction. Over-usage of devices feeds the brain’s networks with dopamine which can fortify the distraction mechanism and influence our ability to focus and concentrate.
  2. Nervous system overload: Our nervous systems are not evolving fast enough to keep up with the pace of technological advancement. We are ill-equipped to deal with the information overload that comes with being ever-connected and our minds and bodies have very little ‘down-time’. This is likely to increase our levels of anxiety and stress and as we become more vulnerable to chronic restlessness and agitation.
  3. Impulse control problems: We are unconsciously driven by feel-good reward-based impulses which reduces our ability to make wise choices for our health and well-being. Impulse control problems can easily develop as we repeatedly follow the compulsion to check our phone for text messages, emails, tweets, Facebook posts, likes, instagrams, etc.
  4. Sleep disruption and digital eye strain: Sleep disruption and digital eye strain and are more prevalent as we turn to our devices for entertainment and connection late at night.
  5. Losing touch with our surroundings and ourselves: The moment-by-moment movements of our life – sights, sounds, smells, tastes, thoughts, emotions, body sensations – no longer register in our awareness as we lose touch with our embodied experience.
  6. Losing touch with others: Our ability to be present with and connected to others rests on our capacity to listen attentively and respond empathically. We know that active listening is enhanced through being able to concentrate. Furthermore, if we lose touch with an awareness of our bodies it becomes more difficult to connect empathically with others and this can affect the quality of our relationships.

Breaking the habit with mindfulness

Mindfulness may offer you a way to help break the habit. This practice supports the development of present-moment awareness through the process of exercising our attentional muscles with an attitude of kindness. Evidence shows that over time our brain and nervous system begins to rewire itself so that:

  • We are less distracted and more concentrated
  • We are able to bring our nervous system back into balance more quickly
  • We can stop ourselves being enslaved by the impulses that motivate us to reach for our devices by noticing these energetic pulses and choosing not to act on them
  • We are much more available for the richness of our present-moment experience and can connect more openly with others

Kick your smartphone addiction course

This 8-week 1-1 mindfulness course will support you to become more aware of your digital device habits and make choices for usage that are supportive of your health and well-being.

What’s included in the course

  • Eight 1-hour 1-1 sessions
  • An individualized session schedule
  • A workbook and link to a set of guided mediations
  • Contact with me between sessions if you need support

The practicalities

You will need one of these digital communication platforms – facetime, zoom or skype and a reliable and stable wifi signal.  You’ll also need a quiet space where you will be undisturbed.

Drop me an email to register your interest in doing the course in this way and I’ll be in touch to begin the process of organising your schedule.

I look forward to hearing from you.