Mens Health

Hi I’m Lisa, and I’m a Cell Phone Addict…..

Just Get Off Your Phone!

Could you just get off your phone?  You’re like a crack addict with that thing….. 

If you are like me, it’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you’re always available. You can reply to business emails at lightening speed. Friends and family around the world are accessible every second of the day. Want to schedule an impromptu girls night out without limitless phone tag? Just send a group text message, BAM, it’s out there.

This is the enticing thing we love about our sassy little phones: The second we hear that giddy little “ping” signifying we have a text, we get a rush of excitement.

Come on, don’t deny it – you know exactly what I mean!

But recently the Fabulous Husband pointed out that I have a little problem with my phone. We were out to lunch on a lovely Sunday and I was taking pictures of my food.

Yes, I’m one of those people.

If you’ve seen my Instagram posts, I’m rather passionate about inspiring others visually, with sensuous healthy food and my fav lifestyle design ideas.

So, I have an excuse right?

I’m a health coach & lifestyle educator. That’s part of what we love to do.

Not. so. fast………..

I am here to help people become healthy, and staring bug eyed at my phone while my husband tries to talk to me?

Not. So. healthy.

So, the other day:

“Lis, Can you please get off your phone? You’re like a crackhead with that thing.”

It totally freaked me out.  Not only because the FH rarely gets on my case (hint-THAT is key to being fabulous in my book) but also because I’ve always been a pretty self-righteous judger of those people..truth be told.

And that comment made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  Well not really, but if I had hair there.  I really, really, really, don’t want to be one of those people.  Really.

It got me thinking that being connected and available 24/7 isn’t all so bueno. Because if you really think about it, why should you always have the ability to be reached? 99% of the time, a text, Facebook notification, or email CAN WAIT. 99% of the time, it’s just not that important.

Also kids, there actually was a time back in the olden days where you carried about your biz all day long and you checked this really obnoxious looking box thing at theend of the day, called an answering machine.

It gave you something to look forward to when you got home, as long as you paid your bills most of the time.

You could click it, sit back relax, and non-ADD like listen to all of the lovely messages from people and hear their voices rather that going on text fests all day long using words lk U and sophomoric sentences like: C U then.

Back in the day, IF someone really needed to get in touch with you, they could; call your work number or send a smoke signal or simply run a red light into your car.

But that particular story is for another time.

So, if you’re nodding your head, you’re not alone. –

I did a little research on this, ahem…matter of mine.

Bottom line here is:  We’re all getting more and more clingy with our dainty devices – it’s like the adult version of a security blanket!

In a study conducted at Harvard Business School, it was found the 70% of professionals check their smartphone within an hour of getting up, 48% check over the weekend, and 51% check during vacation. 44% said they would experience “a great deal of anxiety” if they lost their phone and couldn’t replace it for a week. And that seems moderate to me – I freak out if I lose my phone binky for a day! Yikes. I’ve become like a big fat phone addicted baby! Waaah!

Here’s the thing we know: Yes, our smartphones help us in many ways. But they also have the power to rewire our brains and behavioral patterns. They’re “psychoactive.”

What does that mean? It means that they have the power to alter mood and trigger enjoyable feelings. When you see that little red Facebook notification or hear a text come through, your brain gets a rush of dopamine.

Dopamine encourages reward seeking. You start seeking, then when you attain the reward (i.e., a Facebook like or a text back), you want to seek more. It turns into an endless loop of instant gratification.

It’s almost like an addiction to sugary processed foods – the more you eat, the more you want. But once you rewire your palate (or, in this case, cell phone usage), it becomes easier to exit that loop. Sounds a bit like the Matrix — but this stuff is real!

                                                                                              Doah! Idiot!

Our phones are also changing the way we interact with each other. In some ways, we’re more social, but less healthily connected than ever.

Much of our cellphone use is “disconnected.” One simple way to change this? If you’re at dinner with a friend, PAY ATTENTION TO HER instead of posting about the dinner on Facebook! And I wince, because even as I write this I sheepishly shrink a tad at the thought of many recent outings where I was practically snorting my phone while hanging with my gal pals, one of my kids or my Fabulous Husband. I’m annoying myself just thinking about it.  I am considering unfriending myself on Facebook.  Can one even do that? Hmmm, I better Google it.  OH NO You Won’t!

Geez, this shit is Serious!

Check this out: In a study conducted by the app company Locket, it was found that users swipe their screens to unlock their phones an average of 110 times a day. Some users swiped up to 900 times a day!

Good gawwd Maude – let’s all chill out a bit!

I don’t want to feel compelled to always be on call. As I said, MOST STUFF CAN WAIT. Unless you’re the president or Lady Gaga, the world won’t end if we take your time replying to messages. Chances are, we’ll feel less anxious and we will have more time for REAL interactions in the REAL world. Let’s just leave the freakin’ phone in the car once in a while.

That’s it. I’m going on a DIGITAL DETOX.

Yes, it feels a little like running with scissors braless, and I do feel a little shaky, but I really don’t want to be one of those people.

Did I mention that?

Are you with me?

 Phew! I feel a little more relaxed already.

What do you think? 

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  1. My phone broke around 4 months ago and I did not buy another one. I was heartbroken, frustrated and lost at first, but then after the withdrawals went away I started enjoying life more, having increased concentration, and am way more social. I know it may sound hard or whatever, but try and go without your phone for a week, i bet you’ll enjoy it 😉

  2. This is so me – I don’t even have a home phone, I use my cell for everything. I’d be a wreck if I lost it! I do, however, change my message when I’m writing to say “I’m taking a few hours of the day to focus on my work, and I’ll answer my messages when I’m done,” and then I set my phone down and only answer if it’s my son’s daycare (I found out the hard way I can’t ignore them when he fell into a chair there and split his chin open!) People seem to respect my “working hours” and have never complained… so few things are true emergencies, and if they are, the person is going to keep calling and calling and you’ll know.

    1. @allie, thanks for the great tip! I am with you on the writing thing…it takes uninterrupted time. But not uninterrupted when it comes to our precious babies, right?! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I used to make fun of my sister years ago when she would drive 20 minutes, realize she forgot her cell phone, then drive back home the 20 minutes and then go back to where she was going. That’s before I had a cell phone. It wasn’t until 7 years ago I went “smart” and now…I’m far worse than my sister ever was. I do everything on there. I’m even checking Instagram for crying out loud. Help me. And how does one find out how many times one swipes their phone to unlock it? (Looks at her phone and wonders if there is a setting for that! Does the NSA know? I wanna know now! Damn, I really wanna know.) OK, I gotta go. Bye Lisa!

  4. I am not as bad as all that…the one who answers constantly though is my husband…..but he has to, as he is constantly getting calls from work, police detectives, the DA’s office…, yeah, it’s a double-edged sword. :/