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Dearest Auntie, 
Hope you are doing well. My problem is that I am on my mobile phone all the time. I want to get rid of this habit, because it is affecting my studies. I really want to concentrate on them, especially since I am preparing for the CSS. I am so worried that I just can’t put my phone down. I need to study as much as I can, but I don’t know how to get rid of my phone addiction. Please help. 
Addicted

Dear Addicted,
All of us lose out on valuable aspects of our lives when we spend too much time on our phones. To break this addiction, you will need to be strong-willed. And if, at some point during your journey to break this addiction, you do give in to temptation, do not lose heart. Pick yourself up and try again.

I would suggest you don’t go cold turkey when you are breaking your addiction. Slowly start to reduce the number of hours you spend on the phone. So if you are using your smartphone 15 hours a day, reduce that number to 14.5 hours the first day and gradually decrease your usage by half an hour or an hour every day.

‘I just can’t put my phone down’

Next, delete all addictive apps. Yes, the games need to go. That’ll give you fewer reasons to stay on your phone. Addictive apps include social media. Delete those. Yes, you read that right. All social media needs to go. You need to stop checking what random people you barely know are doing. And if you really have to know what family and friends are up to, know that, if it is important, that piece of news will find you, instead of the other way around.

Also, you do not have to upload anything on Instagram. Your life will be fine and remain exciting even if you don’t update your Instagram every hour of every day. That meal you had at your favourite restaurant will taste as good, even if you don’t tell the whole world about it. In fact, it’ll be better, because you will focus on how it tastes, rather than on impressing people.

Next, curb the urge to Google everything. A lot of things that we search up are pointless. Before you turn to Google to find out whether you are a vampire or if you can wash babies in a washing machine… stop! This is pointless browsing. Before you turn to Google, ask yourself whether you really need to search something up and 8/10 times you will find you don’t.  

For some people, prayer and meditation also help, so definitely try those, as the effect of these on your addiction can only be positive. They can calm down your mind and help you achieve peace of mind.

With so much time away from your smartphone, you can now start thinking about what you are interested in. Now you can actually live your life, instead of spending it staring at a screen. Start studying for your exam. Try writing with your hands, the old fashioned way. It will definitely help you prepare for the CSS exam. Play a sport you enjoy. Read a book, instead of its e-version. If you have a hobby, such as creating art through painting and sculpture, put that phone aside and get busy. Join a class to learn to speak in public or to cook… whatever rocks your boat. The more you lose yourself in a passionate pursuit, the better.

And if you really want to take it to the next level, switch to a basic phone, especially when you are studying, or when you go out of your house.

I hope these tips help you to start living more in the moment and also put the joy back into your life.

Disclaimer: If you or someone you know is in crisis and/or feeling suicidal, please go to your nearest emergency room and seek medical help immediately.
Auntie will not reply privately to any query. Please send concise queries to: auntieagni@gmail.com

Published in Dawn, EOS, October 3rd, 2021

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