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Dear Charlie: How Can I Stop Being Addicted to My Phone?

Dear Charlie is an advice column that allows readers to ask Charlie for guidance on how to deal with problems. Whether it’s about love, friendships, or frustrations, Charlie is here to give you tips and ideas for tackling life’s everyday challenges. Readers can ask Charlie for advice through DM via our Instagram @liubknews, or anonymously through this form.


In this day and age, we rely on our phones to do nearly everything for us. From calls to the time, to social media, emails, Zoom meetings, calendars, and even digital wallets, it is hard to imagine a time where we didn’t use smartphones.

We don’t ever leave home without our phone fully charged, and the panic that sets in when we think we’ve lost it is incomparable.

This dependency on our smartphones can almost feel like an addiction. But I’m here to tell you there are ways to develop healthier habits when it comes to using our phones.

1. Using do-not-disturb and night mode

Using night mode or night shift in the evenings and at night can be a great way to prepare yourself for sleep. Night mode works by reducing the amount of blue light emitted and changing the display to a warmer red-orange tone. This helps you fall asleep faster because blue light mimics daylight, which our bodies are trained to stay awake to.

With do-not-disturb, notifications are silenced and do not wake the phone’s screen, which reduces the amount of times you check your phone in the middle of the night. You can set a schedule for these features to turn on automatically when it is approaching bedtime.

If you are unsure of how to do this, here’s how.

2. Being Intentional With How Much Scrolling You Do

Setting aside time to take a physical step away from your phone and to be fully grounded in the present can serve well for your mental health.

At night, try charging your phone on the opposite side of the room to allow yourself space to wind down and process the events of the day without distraction. Instead of scrolling through social media while waiting for the bus, take a few moments to notice the world around you, the wind and trees and other people around.

Instead of using your phone to keep busy during meals or at nighttime, try reading a book, conversing with friends/family, meditating, or journaling. It’s important to remember, not every single spare moment needs to be filled with a phone. Finding different hobbies such as a sport or art can be a great way to express yourself and give yourself a chance to feel productive.

3. Reserve your waking moments for you only, not your phone

When you first wake up in the morning, your bodily instinct is probably to check your phone’s notifications, even before you brush your teeth or finish rubbing your eyes.

This only sets the tone for the day. Instead of waking up relaxed and calm, you may now be anxious about work deadlines, feeling left out because of someone else’s social media post, or deeply upset by a news article.

Rather than immediately turning over and unlocking your phone, give yourself an allotted time to fully wake up, stretch, and do some light exercise, process the previous night’s dreams, or recite some positive affirmations. It will make you feel at ease and give you a clearer headspace to tackle the day.

4. Using your phone as an organization tool

Your phone has a lot of features that you can use to your advantage to stay on top of things. Using calendar and reminder apps can help keep track of upcoming appointments, due dates, and tasks.

Personally, I even make sure to have my class and work schedule arranged on my calendar so I don’t miss a day or an assignment. Using alarms and timers can help when you have a time limit on something or if you need more of a reminder to do things such as eat or take medications.

Your notes app can also serve as a journal to jot down thoughts and feelings. Microsoft and Google both have office apps that are compatible with phones to help you get assignments done even without a computer.

Your phone doesn’t have to control your life. Hopefully these suggestions will help you change your relationship with your phone in a positive way. Be well and until next time friends!

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