Ah, social media; life before iMessage read receipts, Snapchat stories, and Facebook albums must have been such a simpler time. 

Recently, I have found my relationship with social media has really changed. What once was a mindless break from doing work scroll through Instagram, has lost its luster. In fact, I would go as far to say as social media in general brings me more dissatisfaction than joy. I mean it's hard to feel particularly great about your own life when you see a former classmate is traveling the world or your favorite food account is at the coolest restaurant. Social media creates the perfect platform for comparison, and often ones that may not be the most logical, but are certainly convenient. Everyone always says 'Instagram is just a highlight reel', and while that saying is completely valid, that doesn't change the sentiment that litters your mind as you sift through it. No matter what you may know to be the truth, feelings often find a way to trump logic. 

At this point, there are hundreds of studies all confirming the negative effects social media and screen usage have on our mental health and overall happiness-- the proof is very much in the pudding. However, what we do about it to improve our well-being is completely up to us.  Here are some tips & tricks I or friends have tried (that work) at some point to mitigate phone usage. 

1. Home Screens

Emily Brew

Over winter break, a close friend of mine told me about how she 'broke up' with Instagram. She found herself in a similar paradox of feelings to me and proactively moved the app a few screens over so that it wasn't around the apps she normally uses and therefore wouldn't see it. She found that by moving the app over, her recurrent visits soon became every couple hours and every couple hours became days-- fast forward a few weeks and she hasn't used the app in weeks (months now). As pictured above, I recently moved all my social media apps (aside from Twitter), all over a few screens and have found it has made such a difference. Like my good friend, I now seldom check the app and honestly it is so incredibly liberating. Highly recommend. 

2. Track Screen Usag

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Denise Uy

I personally think one of the driving forces that leads to all of our screen addictions is how unaware we are that we are indeed addicted. Short spurts of checking your phone throughout the day can truly add up to multiple hours of usage. iPhones have added an area in settings where you can see actually how much time you spend on your phones, both daily and as an average per week. I looked at mine, and saw my average was about 3.5 hours a day-- when added up per week that's over a full day every week spent in a virtual universe-- disgusting! Apple even breaks it down for you so you can see which apps are the main culprits, and really crack down on those. You can also add limits to these apps and your iPhone will literally lock you out once you have exceeded those time restraints. I have found this to be such a helpful trick as when tackling addiction self-control is just not a reliable source of constraint. 

**You can also override these lockouts, but I urge you to resist the temptation! 

3. NYTimes Phone Detox 

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Denise Uy

After reading a New York Times article on ditching your phone I tried out Catherine Price's 7-Day phone detox and while I didn't stick to it as rigidly as I should have, it still instilled a lot of great practices in me that I continue to utilize. I definitely recommend at least trying it, as it will push you out of your comfort zone. One of the most impactful aspects of the challenge I found was how Price asks you to ask yourself every time you open your phone "Why for? Why now? What else?" Answering that set of questions often deters me from those mindless scrolls. You also can make the questions you phone background for the extra push.

4. Do Something You Actually Enjo

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Shelby Cohron

I have always been an avid runner-- it is truly one of my greatest passions. Lately, when I go for runs I have started to ban myself from using my phone-- I can use the lock screen on my phone to skip music, but no use other than that. Why poison an activity that genuinely brings me joy? I challenge you to pick one activity that brings you joy and do this activity in its entirety without picking up your phone once. You'd be amazed how much more you can actually enjoy what you do and how much better you will do it.

I definitely am not an expert on this topic, nor have I completely conquered my phone addiction; however, these are some tricks that have helped me in some capacity and I hope you find some value in them too. When in doubt, put your phone down and talk to someone! Life's too short to be wasted looking at a glass screen.