In this Dopamine era, it’s increasingly becoming harder to put our phones down.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain which acts as a chemical messenger.
It releases when you do an activity that is pleasurable or brings rewards. The more anticipation that builds up, higher are the odds of dopamine being raised. Hence, this causes your brain to put in more focus on the pleasurable activity.
Think of it this way- why do you enjoy watching a series, cooking or hanging out with your friends more than any task which is goal-oriented?
Smartphones have turned the better part of this generation into zombies who now find it hard to hold meaningful conversations for a long period of time without getting distracted by a text message, phone call, social media, or just other random distractions from the gadgets.
“Changing your relationship with your phone can have effects that are surprisingly profound,” says James Roberts, a consumer behavior expert.
“I’m a happier person, and that came directly from changing my relationship with the metal rectangle in my pocket. I thought it would be just better time management.”
Therefore, if you have been worried by your phone usage, maybe it’s time you take a break.
Whether that’s a day away from your phone, or setting aside an hour or two each day that can be phone-free; it’s worth discovering what works best for you.
Below are simple ways you can stay away from your phone and go on a dopamine fast.
- Set time restrictions on how long you use your phone. Of course, you’ll need to use it to make a call or snap a photo, so make them realistic restrictions.
- Create a space where no cell phones are allowed. This could mean something as small as the dining room table, or as large as your TV den. Pick a spot where it can be out of sight, out of mind.
- Buy an alarm clock. Using the old fashion alarm clock will help reduce the urge to have your smartphone be the first thing you see in the morning.
- Take a tech-free vacation. Go off the grid and let family, friends, and work know that you will be without a phone. This is an easier way to see what it is like to reduce your smartphone use, rather than going cold turkey. See what it feels like, and perhaps you won’t feel as attached to it when you return.
As much as these steps might help in regulating the time you spend on your phone, it’s good to note that it will be very hard to maintain them without introducing other habits that will help observe them.
Relying on your willpower is just not enough.
Below are habits and practices that will facilitate your goal of stay away from your phone.
- Starting with putting your phone in the trunk or glove box while driving.
- Don’t charge your phone in the bedroom. That way, it won’t be the last thing you see in the evening, the first thing in the morning.
- Instead of carrying your phone in the hand, try pocketing or putting it in a bag.