WELLNESS
07/22/2015 12:18 pm ET Updated Aug 19, 2015

16 Signs You Really Need To Put That Phone Down Right Now

Seriously, people. Enough is enough.
AleksandarNakic

Chances are, you spend most of your waking moments (and even some of your unconscious ones) tethered to your smartphone. You might even casually accuse yourself of being "addicted" to it, as if it's not a big deal. And the majority of you are probably reading this post on your phone right now.

For those of you who spend more time staring at a screen than enjoying your surroundings, here are 16 definitive signs that you really should put your phone down already and rediscover what life is all about. 

1. You're feeling down in the dumps.
New research suggests that the amount of time you spend on your phone correlates with the frequency and severity of negative thoughts you're ultimately trying to suppress. And that downward spiral spins both ways: Yes, people struggling with depression often spend more time on their phones, but heavy social media consumers also find that their time spent on Facebook ends up making them feel more depressed than they did before they logged on.

2. You have screen-related aches and pains -- in the prime of your youth.
The fact that medical professionals have diagnosed conditions like "text neck" and "text claw" in the past few years is proof enough that keeping your phone in your hand 24/7 does have real, physical consequences. It might even be blurring your vision, too.

3. You've actually taken this smartphone addiction test.
And the results were just what you expected -- you can barely go 60 seconds without checking your phone. 

4. You've never experienced a screen-free vacation.
Yes, you've used your vacation days, unlike 40 percent of Americans. Good for you. But that time off doesn't really count if your brain isn't taking a break. Checking work email and scrolling feeds physiologically makes it as though you never even left your office, so give yourself a break already and unplug.

5. You feel lonely -- even around your friends. 
Smartphone dependency and feelings of loneliness go hand in hand, according to a 2014 study. And those isolating sensations don't always wait to manifest until you're by yourself, because even when you're spending time with your friends, each and every one of you is staring at a handheld screen rather than interacting with one another. Look up, people! Sheesh.  

6. You can't remember the last time you didn't Instagram a meal.
Just try to spend more time tasting your 5-course Italian dinner than you do searching for the best filter for it. After all, what's the point of having a picture if you never even allowed yourself to fully experience it?

7. You look at your phone more often than you look at your child.
That's just sad. And completely unacceptable. 

8. You know what "nomophobia" means.
That's right -- it's an unbridled fear of being without a cell phone. According to a 2012 study, 73 percent of the general population say they would be "panicked" if they lost their phone, and 14 percent said they would be downright "desperate" if left without it.

9. You don't remember how to truly relax.
Because smartphones create "a relentless need to immediately review and respond to each and every incoming message, alert or bing," you never actually chill out -- even when you try. Turning that phone off will undoubtedly create some initial anxiety, but you'll be better off for it, we promise.

10. You've forgotten what delayed gratification feels like.
When you text someone, you need a response like now. When you share a new photo on Instagram, you need the likes to start rolling in like now. "Patience" and "smartphone" rarely end up in the same sentence.

11. You wake up to chiming notifications and a beaming blue light on your pillow daily.
It should go without saying at this point that snoozing with your smartphone wreaks havoc on your sleep quality. If you're dependent on your phone, it's also highly likely that you're sleep-deprived. So turn it off, throw it in the other room, and go to bed already.

12. You've had a near-death experience relating to texting and walking.
And if you didn't learn from the first time how problematic that is, we're not so sure we can help you.

 

13. You don't remember what it's like to talk to a stranger.Human beings are built for social interaction, and that's not something technology can successfully replicate. But you've surely given it a fair try every time you avoided a simple human interaction with your headphones or a text. It may come as a surprise, but while overloading on phone time leaves us feeling down, talking with strangers can inspire a surprising happiness. 

14. You hear you phone even when it's not ringing.
Yes, there is such a thing as phantom cellphone vibration syndrome, and you know it all too well. Your phone is in your pocket on silent, but you hear your text message beep. You forgot your phone at home (gasp!), yet somehow you hear it ring during your commute. You're officially losing your mind.

15. You see no problem whatsoever in this photo series.

16. You can't imagine life without your phone.
Literally. In a recent Gallup poll of almost 16,000 people, a whopping 46 percent of people admitted to feeling this way. That's almost HALF. And women were even more likely to agree, at 51 percent.

The fact that we even have to spell these things out proves it's time for a national intervention. Go on, put that phone down and reunite with your own sense of humanity. You know you want to...

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