You and I check something about 150 times each day-almost mechanically-that steals little bits of our happiness away each time we do it.
It's responsible for unsatisfactory relationships, bad sleep, a disappointing sex-life and the inability to focus when we most want to focus.
This one thing sits in our pockets, carrying all the information the world has to offer: our cell phones. A 2015 study found cell phone use was tied to higher stress and anxiety levels as well as depression.
I'm not telling you to get rid of your phone, but if happiness is what you are looking for, these tips can help you balance your phone use while combatting the negative side effects that can sneak in.
Maximize your sleep quality
Your cell phone emits what is called blue light, which suppresses melatonin, the chemical that makes you sleepy. The Atlantic reported those who used an electronic device (even just a reader like a kindle) up to two hours before bed had significantly less REM sleep-the quality sleep your body really needs.
Cut electronics time down, especially as you get closer to bedtime. If you like reading before bed, try an old-fashioned paper book rather than your phone. This will cut out your exposure to blue light, which in turn will help you sleep better. It's much easier to be happy when you aren't exhausted every day.
Stop looking at pornography
Those who view pornography 3 to 5 times a week experience more depression than the general population, according to Psychology Today. In addition to this depression, studies by Fight the New Drug show that both men and women are less happy with their partner after being exposed to "softcore" porn.
Put necessary filters on your phone, and develop the self-control to look away from porn. Actual, healthy relationships have a better chance at surviving as you pull away from this filth.
Find a better sex life
Using your cell phone in the evening is a mood killer. It's hard for your spouse to connect intimately with you physically if they can't connect with you intimately in face-to-face conversation.
Make your bedroom a no-phone zone, and take time to have important talks with your sweetheart where you're not distracted by the buzz of an incoming email.
Cope with life
According to this 2015 study, people who are sad use cell phones similarly to how addicts of substances use their addiction: to escape reality. This same study showed college students with chronic stress and emotional instability had problems with mobile use.
Discipline yourself to turn to healthier forms of coping. Sure, scrolling through Facebook or texting your ex isn't as harmful as taking drugs, but it's not helping you either.
Develop healthier ways to cope with sad times. Have a friend help you get in the mode of working out, learning a new hobby or doing something nice for someone when those low times make you want to hop on Instagram.
Kill loneliness by disconnecting
Ironically, this device that should make us less lonely can actually prevent us from sincerely connecting with people when we are face-to-face with them. This leaves us with an unsatisfied, empty feeling.
Phubbing (an awkward word that describes when you're with someone in real life and chose to respond to your phone) puts up a wall between you and those you are with because it subtly indicates to them they are not a priority. Phones are the ultimate feeder of FOMO (fear of missing out) by constantly keeping you in the loop of "better" activities going on. This makes us incapable of fully enjoying the present moment.
Make your interpersonal connections more satisfying by putting your phone in your pocket and leaving it there when you're with someone. Whoever needs to get a hold of you can wait.
Check out this video for simple ways you can prioritize the people in your life over your phone.