“A new study in the journal Child Development shows night time usage of a cell phone can increase anxiety and depression in teenagers and reduce self-esteem. This is the first study that shows a direct link between screen time and mental health.”

You can watch the CBS report here.

 

It’s not just our teenagers who are affected

I would say the majority of us are addicted to our devices.  And it’s not just to keep up with the news or to stay connected via social networks.  Most of us use our phones for work too and we are NEVER allowed to switch off because we are ALWAYS contactable.  It is important for all of us to really take a good hard look at ourselves and be honest about our mobile phone use – and then do something about it.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Limit your time on your phone

This is a tough one.  I know.  You can start by avoiding checking email, messages, apps, etc. until you get to work (or another designated time) and then go from there.  I also highly recommend you do the same before bed (see additional tips below).  I know people who switch their phone to flight mode or do not disturb when driving (smart move) or at other times when they don’t want to be distracted.  Be honest with yourself about your phone usage and set some limits that can work for you.

2. Turn off all notifications

This might seriously terrify some of you, but this can be incredibly freeing.  Just remember you can always check in with your various apps whenever you want.  Try it and watch as your anxiety levels drop.

3. Activate ‘do not disturb’

This is an option on the iPhone (sorry if it’s not available on other phones) and it allows you to switch off all incoming calls, messages and notifications during a window of time that you set.  I have mine set from 9pm until 7am, allowing me to wind down before bed and then wake up calmly.

4. Switch to ‘flight mode’

I do this as well as activating ‘do not disturb’ overnight when I’m asleep. Why?  Because it means that I am reducing my exposure to EMFs and the damaging effects they have on the body (especially in terms of sleep and mental health).

5. Switch the phone OFF

Just a gentle reminder that this option does still exist.  And for those who want to use the excuse that they need their phone for their alarm, I’m here to assure you that most phones will still turn themselves back on to wake you up in the morning (perhaps check the manual on this one though before trying it).

Final thoughts

You will have observed that I have only focused on mobile phone use in this post.  This is because they are the most utilised ‘screen’ we have, but you should also consider your time spent in front of the TV, laptop/computer and other devices.

These are just a few of my top tips.  Every person, family and situation is different so you need to find strategies that can work for YOU.  I’d love to hear your success stories via Facebook or Instagram.  Share your top tips so we can all enjoy better mental health.