Beep, beep! From the moment your alarm goes off in the morning, you’re probably surrounded by screens and electronic devices. If you’re like most people, you use your phone as an alarm clock. Then once you turn off your alarm, you immediately start scrolling through text messages, email, Facebook, and the news. At work, you’re typing away on a computer all day long, and if you happen to step away, your phone buzzes to let you know that you have a new email. This flurry of activity continues until you go to bed at night (and if you’re having trouble falling asleep, you might even be using your phone to pass the time). In a way, this is simply the world that we live in now. Technology is a necessary part of our lives, and it can be difficult to cut back. But it goes beyond having to use a computer for work or needing to answer a text. Our use of technology has advanced to the point of obsession, and in some cases, addiction. Addicted To Technology? It might sound silly, but technology addiction is a real phenomenon. Here are some signs that your smartphone might be seriously affecting your quality of life. - You feel restless or moody if you forget your phone or are otherwise unable to check it for a certain period of time. - You ignore real people (i.e. talking to a friend over lunch or chatting at a family gathering) in favor of scrolling through social media. - You compulsively check your phone every couple of minutes, for no particular reason. To a large degree, these behaviors have become normalized in our society. But studies have shown that too much screen time leads to everything from eye problems and carpal tunnel to difficulty concentrating and reduced attention span. Technology Detox If you resonate with any of the above statements, you might consider doing a “digital detox.” This can take shape in a number of ways, and you can easily make a tech detox fit into your schedule. If you’re able to, turning off your phone for an entire weekend is ideal. Spend those 48 hours doing anything you’d like – reading, exercising, hanging out in a park, cooking, or spending time with family and friends. You might be surprised at how anxious you feel at first. A smartphone acts as a kind of security blanket against loneliness and boredom in the modern world. But detaching from it (even occasionally) encourages mindfulness and living in the present moment. If you’re unable to go an entire weekend without your phone, try implementing a no-screens rule in the evenings instead. Commit to turning off your phone, laptop, and television by, say, 8:00 every night. Spend those couple of hours before bedtime creating a relaxing evening ritual. Not only will you experience a nightly tech detox, but it’s almost guaranteed to improve your quality of sleep, too. When everyone around you is constantly on their phone, it can be hard to even see excessive screen time as a problem. But once you start reducing your dependency on your phone, you’ll become more mindful of how you spend your time and your overall quality of life.