What's the last thing you look at before going to sleep at night? What's the first thing you see upon waking up? You're constantly aware of where it is, you avoid eye contact by pulling it out to refresh Instagram, and you're starting to feel phantom notification buzzes in your pocket.
Smartphone addiction is considered "normal" these days. We're all dopamine junkies, and that magical ping of a new notification sends everyone's favorite drug straight to the central nervous system.
Apps are great, mobile adds a ton to our lives - we wouldn't give them up for the world. But if you've noticed the quality of your engagement with the world around you plummeting, and you're ready to do something about it, here are four iPhone apps to help you fight your mobile addiction.
Find out the extent of the problem with Moment, which tracks exactly how much time you're clocking into your mobile device. Set self-imposed limits to boot yourself from your device if you exceed them. Pre-plan certain times of the day as "screen-free," which will set off a telltale alarm if you break down and check for Instagram likes when you shouldn't.
Ever tried and failed to reduce your mobile usage? If you're the competitive type, Pause is your solution. Get your mobile addict friends to install it too, then compete amongst yourselves to see who can keep their phone in Airplane Mode the longest. Of course, you won't know if you're winning til you turn connectivity back on... plus you can still feed your Candy Crush addiction offline.
If you're more of a lone wolf (or if you don't want to rope your friends into your quitting process), try Forest on for size. When you want to focus on a task, just plant a tree. It requires 30 undisturbed minutes to grow; if you mess with your phone in that time frame, you'll kill the sprout before it ever has a chance to flourish. More trees in your forest collection means you've been paying more attention to real life.
Ultimately, the problem is not your mobile device, but rather your mental state. Tackle the root cause with buddhify: mindfulness to go, which offers guided meditation for every conceivable situation ("Can't Sleep," "Walking In A City," "Being Online," and more). True peace must come from within; buddhify just offers a convenient way to remind yourself to seek it.
If you've tried all of the above and your thumbs are still blistering over from compulsive swiping and tapping, maybe it's time to switch to noPhone. Distraction free, guaranteed - and you can still pretend to check it to avoid eye contact with other humans.
What strategies do you use when you need to take a breather from your mobile device? Give us some tips in the Comments below.