A version of this post first appeared on Techealthiest.
As we become increasingly dependent on our phones to run most aspects of daily life, the human-phone relationship is getting complicated.
The question is: Are you one of the many phone saboteurs who expedite their phone's demise?
Yes, it's possible that just like the relationship trajectory of lovers not meant for each other, an intense human-phone love affair can fall apart as soon as there are cracks in the relationship.
Why would this happen? Well, there are two good reasons. First, as uber-powerful digital technology snakes its way into every facet of daily life, it promotes a complex and confusing dependency on our gadgets.
Second, new versions of our phones come out so frequently that we have to find a way to keep up with digital evolution.
Unfortunately, phone sabotage is the perfect solution.
When checking your phone no longer becomes a choice, you're likely to become a phone saboteur, a person who consciously or unconsciously facilitates the death of his or her phone. Phone sabotage develops out of a love-hate relationship with the device.
In the beginning of the relationship, we are in awe of what the phone can do for us. We celebrate it when it's still considered new. We holds hands with it everywhere we go. We clean it and dry it and worship its little face.
As time passes, our phone inevitably starts to let us down with progressively slower load speed, unexplainable crashes, unattractive scars and untimely malfunctions. As newer technology rolls in, our sense of awe turns to resentment when we have evidence that our phone is now officially a digital dinosaur.
Have you ever been on vacation (hopefully in a warm, tropical place during the winter months) and you noticed that you simply couldn't put your phone away?
Shouldn't you be pretending to have work-life balance on vacation?
Let's face it...If you don't grant yourself the right to disconnect on vacation, at least give your phone the right to have a vacation of its own. It WANTS to just sit in your hotel room's safe. Just know that your difficulty disconnecting from your phone (or other screen) could be promoting a confusing dependency that, at its worst, creates a sense of life feeling out of your control.
Not long ago, my iPhone breathed its very last digital breath in my hands. I was there watching overhead with mixed feelings as it left for phone heaven. Then the phone that brought me so much comfort over the past year plus was finished. Or at least I thought it was finished.
Now I can admit that I neglected it a bit because I wanted to upgrade. Was I consciously caffeinating my phone with coffee or tossing it against the wall? No. But could I have been more careful? It's not the most flattering confession, but to be honest, I knew exactly what I was doing. My phone had already taken on water damage and all of my data was backed up. My plan was calculated and I was quite ready to usher a new iPhone 6 into my personal digital world.
The hope is that a bit of phone resentment will promote disconnecting from your phone when you recognize that it's best for your mind and body to do so. You might be digitally overstimulated or suffering in your romantic relationship as a result of your screen addiction.
Here are 5 signs you're a phone saboteur:
1. Your phone is partially broken or scratched so you question why you should continue to treat it with kid gloves. Why show it respect when it no longer does everything you want it to do?
2. (As I just confessed to)...You neglect your phone enough to accelerate its demise so you can easily justify upgrading to the next model.
3. You never learned to treat valuable items with respect and your $750 phone is no exception. You take chances with valuable items because that's just how you roll.
4. You grow tired of being overly accountable to so many people who expect you to respond immediately via text or email. You grow frustrated with your lack of self-control around your phone. You can't stand how much time you waste on social media. You realize you've forgotten how to just be with you own thoughts.
5. You know no other way to slow down the blazing pace of a modern, digitally dependent lifestyle than to make sure you don't have a phone.
So how do you avoid sinking into a love-hate relationship with your pocket companion?
For one thing, discipline helps you repeat the same habits that minimize phone damage. I'm referring to putting the phone away rather than carrying it with other items...or avoiding putting it on a table with cups of liquid.)
Perspective also helps. Embrace the idea that your phone is still an awesome device even with a cracked screen. Be thankful that you're alive during this exciting era of rapid technological growth. See your ability to use this device as a privilege.
More than anything, a sense of personal responsibility is most important. Avoid blaming your phone. It's not built to last forever. Don't displace your stress and anger toward other aspects of your life onto your helpless device. It can't defend itself.
If you do, in fact, relate to at least a couple of the above-mentioned reasons for sabotage, make sure you've engaged in fiscally responsible planning for the purchase off your next phone. More importantly, save the contents of your phone (buy or double-check on the integrity of your cloud storage) so you don't lose the data or have to pay to have the data extracted.
A phone saboteur doesn't need to also be a phone data saboteur. The latter is so destructive and scary, it needs its own series of blog posts. Any bloggers want to give that one a shot? Let me know.
You can find more unique and effective tips for living a healthier and happier life within your personal digital world on Techealthiest.com.
Dr. Greg Kushnick, the Founder of Techealthiest, strives to offer readers the most actionable tips on the web for living powerfully. He is on a mission to teach the world the technology of health and happiness.
You'll also find amazing tips for living a healthy lifestyle with your personal technology in hand.
Dr. Greg is also a Manhattan psychologist with a large private practice.