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Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone? Take This Quiz To Find Out!

Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone? Take This Quiz To Find Out!

If you are addicted to your smartphone, you may well be suffering from nomophobia (no mobile phone phobia). That simply means you are scared of the thought of being without your smartphone. How will you stay in contact with your friends and other contacts, read emails, check on your kids, and so on? Panic begins to set in.

How do you know if you have this phobia and how severe is it? Researchers at Iowa State University were determined to find out. They came up with a very handy 20-question quiz. Just do the quiz here and scroll down to check your scores. If you score less than 20, you are not at all nomophobic. If you score over 100, then it may be time to admit you have a problem and may need a digital detox.

How serious is this problem?

Some experts believe that naming smartphone addiction and labelling it as a phobia is exaggerated. One of these critics is Robert Weiss, director of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Santa Monica, California. He says, “[There’s] a lot of fear of technology, fear that [mobile devices are] going to hurt our youth, fear that we are not going to be able to keep up. And I think that it is all a bunch of crap.”

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However, there is plenty of research which shows that smartphone addiction is interfering with people’s lives. It is affecting their mental and physical health. The 2013 Mobile Consumer Habits Report reveals some pretty shocking statistics. The smartphone seems to be increasingly present (10%) in the bedroom, during sex and in the shower. The most alarming one is that 50% of people are using them while driving and managing to get away with it.

Talk about digital baggage! Studies show that you may get “text neck” from all that texting. Sleep is disturbed and one survey shows that 44% of people sleep with their smartphones next to them. The most alarming figure is that about two thirds of users are constantly checking their phones, even when it is not ringing or vibrating.

How to take a break from your smartphone

Smartphones are here to stay. They are a fabulous resource and they make life easier and more entertaining. But there is no need to become a zombie. Here are some practical steps you can take to make sure that you staying in touch with the real world and the people in it, especially if your score on the quiz puts you in the high-risk category. Here are 5 ways to help you break your habit.

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1. Turn off all non-essential notifications

When you are kept in the loop and get a buzz for every retweet, What’s App message, or Instagram like, then you are wasting a lot of time. Already, your social media is pulling you away from reality. Turn off all the notifications you do not really need.

2. Start talking again

Ever watched a family or group of friends in a restaurant where they are all on their smartphones and nobody is talking to each other or really connecting? Now that is sad! The only way to reconnect with the people that matter is to put your phone away and start communicating in the good old-fashioned way. Try face to face. It never needs a battery recharge.

3. Think about what is really going on

Try to reflect on why you are checking compulsively all the time. It could be anxiety, loneliness, or boredom. Why not try to address these issues and spend time more productively, by staying on task, reading a book, listening to music, or going for a walk (leaving the smartphone at home, of course).

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4. Remember: you don’t have to answer every call, beep, or message

The world will not end if you do not check your phone immediately, right? Again, you can turn off all these alerts if you cannot bear to turn your smartphone off altogether for a few hours. Ideally, we only need to check our phones a few times a day, but most people check their phones at least 35 times daily!

5. Use an app to cure your addiction

If you cannot apply any of the above four methods, there’s an app for that! It’s a bit ironic, but using fire to fight fire makes perfect sense when we have the technology. If you want a gentle nudge, StayOnTask (Android) is excellent because it simply asks you at random intervals whether you are still on task. Great for keeping focused and helping you to meet deadlines. BreakFree takes a tougher approach in that it tracks all your usage, from looking at the screen to your total usage every day. It can give you an addiction score and that is great for reaching any goals you have set. Offtime (iOS, Android) might appeal to you if you are addicted to Facebook, games, and emails. It can block all those but leave the channels open for any communication from the family, boss, or your significant other.

Now, where did I put my smartphone? Help!

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Featured photo credit: Keuls smartphone terras/ David van der Mark via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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