Put away that cell phone for better mental health

By Ra Hippolite, Kaiwhakahaere Hangarau (IT/Contracts Manager)

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Do you find yourself reaching for your cell phone quite a bit, particularly when you’re bored and need some entertainment or a distraction?  Or maybe you’re always checking your phone after instant communication apps like Messenger and Telegram tell you that someone has read your message. Have you ever crossed a street with your head down, reading something on your phone, only to find out a car stopped short to let you pass?

Spending too much time on your cell phone can be an unhealthy distraction in many ways. Take some time during this busy season to stop focussing on your phone at certain times. Notice your eyes are hurting? They might be straining because you’re watching the screen so much and not varying the distance that your eyes are focusing. And, who hasn’t had a crook neck when sitting looking at a phone for too long? Or do you jump at every notification? You might have unnecessary anxiety by worrying that people don’t respond to your messages right away. Learning to face uncertainty is an important aspect of managing  our mental health. 

But it’s not just the physical effects from too much phone use. You could be missing out on that creative moment or time walking amongst people, nature, and noticing your interesting surroundings. If you check your phone often because you’re bored.

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So, when you find yourself checking your phone over and over, put it away instead. Next time you’re walking up the street try keeping it in your pocket – you’ll be more in tune with your surroundings especially when crossing the road and it could even save your life! Place your phone screen down and silence those notifications to keep you in the moment when you are out walking. Enjoy nature and your surroundings, you’ll be glad that you did.