Avoid Phone-Related Stress: Make Your Phone Work for You this Monday

Your phone might be incredibly useful in your day-to-day: It keeps you up on the news, connects you with friends and allows you to work with colleagues outside of the office. At the same time, it can also be a major source of stress: Research shows that every time you interact with a notification or react to a buzz, you get a shot of adrenaline by activating your sympathetic nervous system. This means your body is constantly in an “alert” mode and, often, by the time it has a chance to recover, it’s signaled to be on the lookout again.

It’s crucial that we learn how to make our phones work for us, instead of involuntarily working for our phones. This doesn’t mean you have to lock your phone up and throw away the key. There are plenty of practices that can help you to be more mindful with your device, while still allowing you to reap all of its convenient benefits. This Monday, try a few of the techniques below.

Keep it out of sight when you need to focus: Research shows that the mere presence of your phone inhibits your ability to focus – even if the phone is turned off! Consider storing your device in your desk drawer or keeping inside your purse – especially when you’re trying to complete a task productively.

Get to know the DND function: Both a vibration and a little red notification actively pull you away from your present moment, begging for your attention and ultimately leaving you flustered. Consider deactivating the notifications that do not serve you: The buzz of news, social media, games and even text messages can be silenced with your phone’s Do Not Disturb function. If there are specific notifications you’d like to receive, you can go through your settings and turn off notifications for individual apps.

Go grayscale: The vibrant colors on your phone are keeping you hooked. Turning your phone to grayscale removes the attention-grabbing color, which will make scrolling through social media a little less fun, thus less addictive. Check out this link to learn how to make your device grayscale.

Use an app: It might sound counterintuitive to use an app on your phone to use your phone less, but there are plenty of high-rated apps dedicated to reducing your screen time. In Moment is especially helpful for anyone wanting to cut down on social media: The app will track your use and allow you to set limits on how often you access platforms like Instagram or Twitter. Another app, called Space, lets you set goals around screen time. Off the Grid functions by way of monetary incentive: the app will make your phone inaccessible for the length of time you choose. If you decide to use your phone during this time, the app will charge you $1.

Reducing the time you spend with your phone is definitely an adjustment, so be patient with yourself as you build up to spending longer periods without it. It may feel hard at first, but once you get more comfortable without your device, you won’t miss it: Instead, you’ll feel less stressed and have more energy to do the things you truly love.