Why to Not Check Your Phone First Thing in the Morning
Technology has made it easier than ever to stay connected. While the benefits of this age of connectedness are undeniable, there are better ways to spend your morning than scrolling through your social media feed.
This blog post will explain why checking news and social media in the morning is a habit to break, and provide actionable tips to help you make the most of your early morning brainpower.
Is Your Phone Hijacking Your Morning?
Co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology (and former Google design ethicist), Tristan Harris has spent more than a decade learning about subtle psychological forces and their connection to technology.
Harris reminds us that the apps we feel so inclined to check are actually products, and the app designers, who Harris compares to magicians, look for “blind spots, edges, vulnerabilities and limits of people’s perception, so they can influence what people do without them even realizing it.”
App developers want us to check our phones first thing in the morning. According to Harris, though, this unhealthy practice casts a negative outlook on the day and makes your morning less about looking forward to the day ahead, and more about what you missed the night before.
If you sacrifice rest, time with friends and family, or work or school performance to check your phone, it’s possible your phone is hijacking not just your morning, but also your overall quality of life.
Excess Phone Use Can Cause Stress
According to Dr. Nancy Cheever, a researcher at California State University, “The more people use their phone, the more anxious they are about using their phone.”
Research consistently shows that excess phone use causes stress, but we’re not quite sure why. Some researchers theorize that elevated stress levels are caused by the fear of missing out (FOMO). Others believe that substituting virtual relationships for in-person communication limits our exposure to the crucial interactions and cultural influences we rely on for effective stress management.
Replace Phone Use With Healthier Habits
The best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. Take full advantage of your morning and set the stage for a positive, focused day by engaging in some healthy alternative morning activities:
Enjoy Some Uninterrupted “Me Time”
The early morning hours provide a rare opportunity to practice self-care without distractions. Take some time each morning to do something that makes you feel good. Take a bubble bath, read a book or hone a creative skill.
Exercising in the morning can help you stay energized and focused all day. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins (stress-fighting hormones). You don’t need special equipment or a gym membership—just do something that gets the blood pumping.
Morning meditation takes a bit of practice. If you’ve never meditated before, try this short and simple routine before getting out of bed:
- Sit up straight on the edge of your bed with your feet on the floor, and your eyes closed.
- Breathe deeply in through your nose.
- Hold your breath for a few seconds.
- Breathe out deeply through your mouth.
- Repeat for five minutes.
A meditation session before you start your day can set you up for a more peaceful, focused and productive day.
Breaking the Morning Phone Habit
“Old habits die hard,” at least according to Mick Jagger. Here are some tips to make the transition to your new, healthier morning routine a little easier:
Don’t Take Your Phone to Bed
Invest in a real alarm clock and leave your phone outside your bedroom. If you have to get out of bed to check your phone, you’re far more likely to engage in other morning activities (like meditation) first.
Affix a sticky note to your phone screen to remind you not to check your phone. When your eyes are open, but your brain isn’t quite there yet, you risk falling into old habits.
Use an App
It’s counterintuitive, but specialized apps can help you become more conscious of the time you spend on your phone. They can also help you filter communications and limit your active hours.
Make Healthy Habits More Convenient
If you want to exercise in the morning, lay out your workout clothes near your bed the night before. If you want to get creative, place your tools on your bedside table.
Find something that helps you look forward to your phone-free mornings and stick with it. Spend your free time in the morning bettering your body and your mind. Your friend-of-a-friend’s selfies from Mykonos can (and should) wait.