Do you prioritize scrolling on your phone over other tasks? Are you perhaps hooked on mindless scrolling? A psychologist, Joshua Ehrlich, says excessive scrolling stimulates the same pathways of the brain as those stimulated in people with chemical addictions. Opening familiar apps on your phone to scroll causes your brain to release the feel-good chemical dopamine.
Do the following scroll habits seem familiar?
What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Do you reach out for your phone even before you open your eyes? You may feel you cannot start your day before checking at least the notifications on Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites. However, it doesn’t stop with checking notifications, does it? It is so hard to resist that overwhelming urge to scroll. You feed on bad news, good jokes and everything in between.
You’re only one of many scroll addicts
According to a Pew Research Center study, social media apps lure almost 28% of Americans to be online for most of their days. If you can manage to put your phone away while standing in the checkout line at the store, look around, and you will likely see a picture of yourself. Most other shoppers click through Twitter or Tinder while they wait. How many times have you been late for work or even meeting up with friends because you could not pull yourself away from scrolling on your phone? It is not something you can just stop doing, but some steps could break the habit.
Admit to having a scroll problem
As in all addiction battles, your first step would be to recognize and admit that you have a problem. Ehrlich says mindless scrolling has adverse effects in the long run. He recommends turning off notifications when you commit to stop scrolling or even check your phone every few minutes. You might think your willpower is strong enough to withdraw from mindless scrolling. However, the constant pings that indicate new emails, status updates and other notifications are hard to ignore.
Don’t keep your phone with you
Putting your phone in another room might lessen the temptation. Most people can reach out to pick up their phones at all hours without having to take a step. Essentially, you will likely get your tasks done much quicker without distractions of interrupting, irresistible notifications on your phone. Most importantly, also leave your phone in the other room when you go to bed at night. It will allow better sleep and prevent scrolling before your eyes are properly open in the morning.
Draw up a scroll schedule
If coping without your phone is a struggle, draw up a schedule. Include times to take breaks when you can scroll to your heart’s content. However, add a time limit, and stick to it. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Breaking dependence issues takes time, and you can use your schedule to allow fewer breaks gradually at longer intervals.
Once you no longer think of your phone as a part of your body, you might want to challenge your friends to do the same. You’ll be surprised at the irritation you feel when they are all scrolling while you’re not. Imagine the fun if all of you enjoy a night out at the restaurant without your phones right next to your plates.