Start Your Day Right: Keep Your Phone Out of Sight!

When you wake up in the morning, how soon do you reach for your cell phone? If the time falls within 30 minutes – you are not alone, but this habit may be bad for your health and state of mind. 

Researchers assert that what you do upon waking sets the tone for the day. Their recommendation?  Keep your phone at bay.

According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Mobile Consumer Survey U.S. edition, 18 percent of users look at their mobile or smartphone immediately upon waking; 43 percent within five minutes; 62 percent within 15 minutes, and 76 percent of Americans check their mobile or smartphone within 30 minutes of waking up.

Smartphones, which are essentially small computers, are as smart as their user makes them.  They tell us what time to wake up and provide us with the day’s weather forecast. Mobile phones have become ingrained in our lives and daily routines.  In fact, consumers check their phone an average of 47 times per day.

Perhaps consumers suffer from “FOMO” (fear of missing out), “FOMSI” (fear of missing something important) or “textaphrenia” (the false sensation of having received a text message), either way, researchers agree that checking your smartphone immediately upon waking changes your mind and body’s formerly peaceful state to a stressful state.

Whether you are sorting through what agenda items need to be accomplished, to possible begrudging thoughts of the day’s news, starting the morning off with worry, thinking negative thoughts, or reading negative news is bad news according to experts because how you begin your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.  Additionally, this behavior may be harmful to your overall outlook, thereby affecting your “working memory.”

Working memory is a person’s ability to hold and manipulate information in mind for the short term, even while distracted, such as recalling a shopping list, phone number, or a set of simple instructions. Working memory is adversely affected by stress.

Just the anticipation of a stressful event can influence a person’s day and diminish their working memory.  Researchers from Penn State discovered that poorer working memory that occurred later in the day was associated with stress anticipation in the morning.

This lowered working memory function was found to have a negative influence on an individual’s performance, making them more apt to make mistakes or unable to focus, thus reducing one’s productivity at home, work or play.

To help curb the desire to reach for your cell phone first thing in the morning, try a few of these suggestions instead:

Wake up: Instead of using your phone’s alarm, consider purchasing a good old-fashioned alarm clock and place your phone in another room if possible or on the opposite side of the room while you sleep.  This will make it less tempting to reach for your phone immediately upon waking.

Silence is golden: Start your morning with a moment or two of complete silence or a positive affirmation to set a calm tone for the new day.

Be proactive, not reactive:  By not checking your social media or email as soon as you wake up, you are better able to dictate your goals for the day providing a sense of productivity that in turn may have an uplifting effect on your mood.

Get on the good foot:  Play relaxing or upbeat music to help start your day on a positive note with a little dancing or a brief walk around your neighborhood, block, or abode.

Delay gratification:  Designate a schedule for checking emails and social media and stick to it.  Get out of the habit of feeling like text or email messages must be read and responded to immediately.

One day at a time:  Breaking any habit can be challenging.  Start with baby steps of focusing on yourself and the moment you are presently in.  The other items attached to your mobile phone can and will wait for your reply.

If you feel you need additional help with disconnecting from your cell phone, seek the assistance of a professional.  The California Department of Consumer Affairs licenses professionals who treat individuals with psychological addiction through the Board of Psychology and Board of Behavioral Sciences.  To check and verify the license status of a professional’s license, visit search.dca.ca.gov.

 

 

 

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