Trying to Break Your Phone Habit?


woman checking notifications on both her phone and her tablet while sitting in front of her laptop
Artie Medvedev/Shutterstock

If you’re addicted to checking your phone, you’re not alone. It’s hard to put that thing down, but you need a break once in a while—here’s how to make it less enticing.

When your phone is continually chiming at you to let you know when people are texting you and commenting on your social media posts, it feels like an extra appendage. You may suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), and part of the cure is to turn off notifications. Turning off notifications can’t force you to leave your phone in your pocket or purse, but it will cut down on the dopamine rush you get from the thrill of new things—like funny memes and social media likes—the notification heralds.

Phone notifications give you a dopamine rush. Remove the notification, remove the reward that reinforces the habit you’re trying to break.

If you’re worried about missing emergency calls, you can turn off notifications for text messages and individual social media sites without turning off your ringer. And doing that is really easy. Although they have slightly different menus, it’s pretty easy to toggle notifications on either your Android or iOS devices. You can also change (and review) notification sounds in your phone setting as well, usually under some sort of “sounds” tab like the Sounds & Haptics menu on iPhones.

Turning off your notifications will help make your phone less attractive. It may also give you some time to find joy in other things like interacting with people in person or just enjoying quiet time without the anticipation of the next chime.

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