Tuesday, March 21, 2023 | Sha'ban 28, 1444 H
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Get rid of phone addiction!

Almost everyone knows that we can get addicted to our digital devices. And those who check social media might have felt this or a bit of this anxiety earlier in the past days when almost all the social media applications disappeared from the internet for a few hours.

In a way, the addiction to the device, we cannot say that it is not harmful. It is associated with depression and anxiety, as well as falls disproportionately on lonely or isolated people.

Many of us are aware of how most car accidents today are due to the use of smartphones while driving. Indeed, these problems have become clear to almost everyone, but the solutions, less than that!

Not to mention that in the world of electronic payments, digital documents and remote work, a smartphone-free lifestyle is becoming less and less practical.

Perhaps the best — and most logical for many of us — to manage addictive behaviour is by modifying device usage. This is not just a matter of setting screen time limits that you can easily break!

Instead, you can start developing specific, tangible habits to replace the unhealthy ones that keep bringing you back to your phone.

Your addiction quotient may vary based on your values, how useful your smartphone is to you and perhaps also your brain chemistry.

From here you can set some personal goals: If you use social media more than you want to, your goal — at least to start — could be to reduce the time you spend with it by about a third. Perhaps the best way to counter reckless using, if I may say so, is watchful phone use. Set times each day or week to look at your smartphone and focus on it. Don’t do anything else. Be everything to the phone for those minutes, as if it were your business. And this is very real related to the concept of vigilance, meaning while washing the dishes one should only wash the dishes, which means that while washing the dishes one should be fully aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes! Finally, this practice may also show you how little you enjoy staring at your phone.

On the other hand, we are all aware that most addictions are related to a neurotransmitter called dopamine. It controls craving and it is triggered when we get environmental cues like advertisements and reminders to do something fun, like smoking or checking the phone for example. Here if I could say, playing Smartphones are our dopamine game, most importantly through sounds or notifications that someone texted or mentioned you and you should look now to satisfy your curiosity! So the solution is simple: If you have a smartphone, turn off all notifications, except for those you need to stay at work and ring when your dad or mum calls.

In addition, keeping the phone away from you anywhere in your home so that it is not close to you may be a solution, especially when sleeping, as it is certainly a personal strategy that ensures your psychological and physical comfort without thinking about the phone.

In end, addiction is a nasty thing that strips us of freedom — if I may say so — so be alive here now and stop giving yourself unnecessary trouble. On the contrary, live fully in the situation you are in now!

Dr Yousuf Ali Al Mulla is a physician, medical innovator and a writer

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