3 Ways Smartphone Addiction Makes You Miserable

If you’ve ever looked up from your phone in public, you may have noticed most of the people around you are staring at their screens. Smartphones are packed with useful features–music, directions, email, social media, text, chat, weather, and cameras. What’s more, app designers want to make their products as addictive as possible to keep you coming back. There are certainly downsides to smartphone addiction. For one, it can be a dangerous distraction, as when you’re driving. Even if you are technically safe, spending too much time staring at your phone can make you miserable for several reasons.

Social media is not really social. Social media is at best an auxiliary way of socializing. It’s not meant to be your main forum of social interaction. You might be communicating with many people, but it’s a low-cost, superficial way of communicating. It lacks the body language and other cues you would get in a face-to-face interaction, which often creates potential for misunderstanding and therefore a low level of anxiety. Communicating via text or social media is no substitute for actually spending time with someone. Unfortunately, when we do spend time with people, we’re often on our phones anyway.

You’re constantly multitasking. When you’ve been trained to always listen for that ding or buzz to let you know you have a text or email or someone responded to your Facebook comment or liked your picture on Instagram, you’re never completely focused on what you’re doing. You might be working, studying, or spending time with friends, but you’re always a little distracted. One study found that students performed worse on a test if there is a phone on the desk, even if it didn’t belong to the student. The possibility of a distraction was itself a distraction.

Even if you aren’t doing anything particularly important, using your smartphone at the same time–or “semi-tasking”– prevents your mind from relaxing. You learn to always be mentally tense. Chronic multitasking even prevents you from doing nothing well.

You’re less aware of your environment. In 2015, more than 3000 people died and nearly 400,000 were injured as a result of people looking at their phones while driving. And emergency room visits by people injured because they were looking at their phones while walking has risen more than 35 percent since 2010. People bump into things, trip and fall, or walk in front of cars because they can’t put down the memes for five minutes.

Beyond that, being disconnected from your environment makes you anxious. Some part of your brain knows things could go wrong at any moment, and it’s pacing around while the rest of your brain browses Instagram.

Paying attention to your surroundings not only relieves anxiety and makes you less accident-prone, but it can actually make you feel better. You might interact with friends, or enjoy nature, which has been shown to reduce stress and increase feelings of well-being.

Daylight Recovery Services takes a holistic approach to substance abuse and co-occurring disorder treatment to address the physical, psychological, and spiritual facets of addiction and recovery. We ensure clients emerge from our facility with the proper tools and confidence in their ability to lead a healthy, enjoyable life. If you or someone you love is ready to break free of the bondage of addiction, contact one of our recovery experts today at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT.