There’s an undeniable jolt of joy with every notification that pops up on your phone. Our phones and their apps have been designed to trigger releases of dopamine in our brains, which make us feel good for interacting online. But the constant checking in online can also be overwhelming.
So how can we use our phone more healthily?
The average American checks their phone every 12 minutes, and one study says the average person touches a screen 2,617 times every day. Smartphones have had a positive impact on our lives, but they’ve also been shown to increase anxiety and depression as well as lead to low self-esteem and sleep levels.
A useful strategy for limiting phone use, according to research psychologist Larry Rosen, is to increase time between phone check-ins. If you notice yourself checking your phone every 15 minutes, try setting an alarm to check it every 20 minutes.
Rosen also suggests to literally make it harder to access your apps. If Facebook is your most-used app, try burying in on the last page on your phone in a folder.
Ironically, there are also apps out there that will help you limit your smartphone usage like Forest and Flipd. Apple and Android are also introducing native tools to track phone and app use — which could help people cut back on their screen time.