Addicted to your smartphone? Here are some tips on how you can kick the habit


It happens all too often — you pick up your smartphone and check your social media accounts, without really realizing what you're doing, and why you're doing it.

It could be a sign that you're addicted to your screen, and according to a recent Montreal public health study, that addiction could be contributing to poorer mental and physical health, lack of sleep, and general dissatisfaction with real life.

Journalist Catherine Price is the author of a book called How to Break Up With Your Phone. She joined CJAD 800's Elias Makos, a self-professed smartphone addict, to go over the ways we can break the habit.

And the first thing we would need to do, as is the case with just about everything else we're addicted to, is to ask yourself — do we have a sense of purpose about what we're doing?

"Take a step back and ask yourself, why you actually want to spend less time on your phone, by which I mean, what do you want to be doing instead?', she says.

The next step in your thought process should then be, what is the habit that you have with your phone that's getting in the way of your intentions to do something else?

"What are you trying to get when you actually keep refreshing your social media feed," she says. "What is your brain after?"

The 'who gives a blank' test

Ultimately, what Price suggests is people should ask themselves three questions — 'WWW questions' as she calls them — what for, why now, and what else? Why are you checking social media and is there a purpose? What is the emotional driver behind your checking your phone? And also, what other constructive things could you be doing instead, and how is your screen time getting in the way of all that?

Price also says, if you're about to post something on social media, run your post through what she calls the 'who gives a blank' test.

"What you do is, when you're about to do something on Instagram, post a photo, leave a comment, like something, ask yourself, 'who gives a blank?'", she says. "And then if the answer is likely to be 'nobody', then don't do it. 'Oh, it's a picture of my breakfast. Who gives a blank?'"

Also, if you have your phone set to receive any notification from any one of your social media platforms, you would do well to turn some of those off.

"If you have all those notifications on by default, you're allowing anyone in the universe, anywhere, to interrupt you at any moment for whatever they want, or whatever the algorithm wants. it's time for you to take control."