By cutting your phone use for a week, you can create positive habits that last for months, according to a new report.
According to the new study, reducing phone use for at least one hour a day for a week can lead to less smartphone use in the long run. The researchers divided a group of more than 600 people into three cohorts – a group that completely stopped using smartphones for a week, a group that reduced smartphone use with an hour a day for a week, and a third group who did not change smartphone use at all.
The research team interviewed the participants immediately after the completion of their one week smartphone detox, as well as one month and four months after the experiment. Even four months later, they found that the group of participants who reduced usage by an hour for a week used their phones as much as 45 minutes less per day. They also reported increased life satisfaction and physical efficacy† as well as reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety and reduced nicotine use for the smokers and vapers in the group.
The group who gave up their phone completely for a week reported similar changes, but only used their phone about 38 minutes less per day — seven minutes more use in 24 hours than the group who reduced their use by one hour a day over that week — long period.
“We found that both completely giving up the smartphone and reducing daily use by an hour had positive effects on participants’ lifestyle and well-being,” said Julia Brailovskaia, Ph.D., an author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher. researcher at the Mental Health Research and Treatment Center at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany. “In the group that reduced use, these effects lasted even longer and were thus more stable than in the abstinence group.”
According to Pew Research Data as of 2021, approximately 85% of Americans over the age of 18 will own a smartphone. Almost half of the respondents on a Statista survey 2021 reported spending five to six hours a day on their smartphones, not counting work-related smartphone use.
Smartphone usage is linked to an increase in depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and addictive behavior† Previous research has also found links between excessive phone use and reduced brain gray matter, migraines, and other cognitive and neurological problems.
As with most things, moderation is key when it comes to smartphone usage. Spending less time on your phone frees up more time for healthy lifestyle habits. This, in turn, can extend lifespan while boosting mental health, more than just cutting back on smartphone use.