Overview: Hypnosis offers a solution for cellphone addiction, helping us to release the deep, subconscious attachment we have to our phones and live more freely.
Smartphones are ubiquitous in the U.S. In fact, nearly 95 percent of adult Americans own a cellphone…. 240 million cellphones. Buzzing, ringing and distracting.
Heck, there’s a good chance you’re reading this on a smartphone screen.
There’s no denying that we’ve become increasingly reliant on our cell phones. Yet, increasingly, people aren’t just reliant on their phones for information; they use them incessantly.
We’ve even coined a phrase for the fear of not having a smartphone in our pocket or purse – nomophobia. And some even go as far as calling our cell phones “digital heroin.”
Here's why hypnosis can help cell phone addiction:
The compulsion to grab and tap away at our phones is located in the mind. It’s a matter of flawed thinking — patterns of thought that have become ingrained over time, with each text notification, buzz and ding.
Hypnosis allows us to change negative thinking patterns – the automatic thoughts that compel us to check our phones — and replace those thoughts with more helpful habits.
What Is Cell Phone Addiction? What Are the Symptoms?
Before we think about how cell phone addiction affects the mind, it’s helpful to define cell phone addiction and examine the signs and symptoms.
There’s a fine line from people who use their phones too much and those that are addicted. Cell phone overuse, for example, isn’t addiction. This is when someone feels they probably check their phone a little too frequently, but they can still cut back.
Addiction occurs when A) the behavior has negative consequences, and B) when people start to feel they have little control over their cell phone use.
A few of the most common warning signs of cell phone addiction include:
- Tolerance: You start checking your cell phone more and more, using social media, new apps to feel the same amount of pleasure.
- Withdrawal: Anxiety is a common withdrawal symptom for cell phone addiction. You become anxious when you don’t have your phone, and depression is another common sign.
- Excessive Use: You begin to use your cell phone excessively, and you might start to notice you use the phone before taking care of work or relationships. For example, you might be so deep into your cell phone, that you don’t notice someone is talking to you.
- Change in Mood: Cell phone overuse can change the way we feel and our state of mind. Often, the telltale sign is when we lose track of time, while tapping away at our phones. Or we look to our phones to pick up our mood, e.g. texting excessively when we’re having a bad day.
- Neglect: Addicts start to use their phones before doing more important things. Studying, doing work, having face-to-face conversations, for example, are three common things people neglect when their cell phone overuse has become problematic.
How Cellphones Reprogram the Brain
Cell phones (and social media) are designed to be addictive. They’re little reward machines that continually reinforce our “need” to use them at all hours of the day.
Some researchers say our phones are like a little slot machine we carry with us everywhere.
Those alerts, those red numbered new message icons, and those updates about the latest Netflix release… They’re all little rewards. They have the same effect on the brain as winning a few tokens at the slot machine.
Each time we receive a notification, or a text, or an update, the brain’s reward center activates. It turns on, and a tiny bit of dopamine gets released. The dopamine creates that feeling of contentedness and comfort that we so often get from using our phones.
Smartphone addictions locks us in a dopamine-seeking loop.
Each tiny release reinforces the need, and over time, this pleasure-seeking behavior gets ingrained in our minds. Ultimately, we start to notice that we reach for our phones more and more, a lot of the time without even thinking about it.
The “slot machine” also reprograms our automatic, subconscious thoughts. The subconscious wants to protect us.
In fact, it’s the subconscious that tells us when we feel pain, or that we’re hungry, and that it’s time to check on the phone.
Hypnosis helps us to access this area of the brain, the unconscious mind, and speak directly to it.
When we practice hypnosis, we reach a very relaxed physically, but hyper-focused mentally. It’s very similar to meditation.
In this state, we provide the subconscious with new information and more helpful ways of thinking. In this trance-like state the subconscious is so in tune and willing to learn, the information that we provide it can override existing thinking patterns.
Hypnosis sets up a roadblock and makes us more aware of the unconscious urge to pick up our phones.
How Hypnosis Helps Alleviate Smartphone Addiction
In particular, hypnotherapy – using hypnosis for behavior change – can be a helpful method for helping us:
1. Recognize Unhealthy Thinking
With addiction, our obsessive thoughts about a substance or technology become mindless. Our minds run on autopilot, and we don’t even consider the thoughts that drive us to action. For healthy things (like telling us we’re hungry), this autopilot system is helpful. Our subconscious helps keep us alive. With addiction, the subconscious thinks irrationally about our drug of choice. We’ve tricked the subconscious into thinking texting is as important as sleep or food (and we’re mostly unaware of it).
→ Hypnosis helps us to pause, to slow down our thinking, and to examine exactly why we’re thinking about something. This helps us to think rationally about our impulsive thoughts, which helps us to stop them.
2. Updating Our Positive Associations
The subconscious gets trained to think the reward (a text, or notification) is super important. And it starts to place more and more importance on seeking the reward. That’s when our cell phone use becomes problematic. But the key is helping the subconscious see the negative impacts of our addiction – the insulted friends who you’ve ignored, the piles of work, the tired eyes.
→ Hypnosis empowers us to create new associations with cell phones. Whereas, we might have only considered the positive; we can replace how the subconscious views smartphone use. We can reteach the subconscious that texting or checking our phones isn’t that important.
3. Helping Improve Behaviors
With addiction, we often turn to our drug of choice for protection. It becomes our safety blanket. With cell phones, we might use them to avoid social situations, or to avoid a particularly challenging work assignment. Hypnosis can help us to see the why of our behaviors, and also to provide helpful suggestions for more positive ways to respond.
→ Using hypnotherapy, we can reframe how our natural responses to negative behaviors, helping the mind see that our drug of choice isn’t a helpful option. So, for example, if you were someone who used your cell phone to avoid work, hypnosis could help you teach your subconscious new, more helpful ways to respond to the anxiety.
Does Hypnosis Work? Can It Help Smartphone Addiction?
Here’s one way to think about hypnosis: It’s a lot like meditation, but it has a goal. With meditation, we’re massaging the mind. But with hypnosis, we’re massaging the mind, while working on a particularly painful location.
And this sort of targeted mindfulness can be very effective. Research has continually shown hypnosis to be an effective option for a variety of addictions and negative behaviors, including:
- Substance abuse and alcoholism
- Sugar addiction
- Binge eating
- Fear of public speaking
- Video game addiction
The list goes on and on. For cell phone addiction, which is so new, there hasn’t yet been a lot of research on the subject. But many studies of closely related addictions.
Smokers, for example, experience the same sort of reward-seeking behavior. And research has continually shown that hypnosis offers helpful effects. One study found 81 percent of smokers who received hypnosis were able to quit, long-term. And another found 39 of 43 smokers quit after receiving hypnosis. There's lots of great information about the usefulness of hypnosis to quit smoking.
Start Your Hypnosis Journey and End Your Cell Phone Addiction
Unchain yourself from your cell phone. Start using hypnosis right now and see immediate positive benefits.
We offer a number of tools – from self-hypnosis recordings, to live one-on-one hypnotherapy sessions – to help you gain control of your addiction. In our Grace App, we even offer an entire Phone Addiction 7-day hypnosis series, that helps you overcome this challenge once and for all.
I was just browsing social media for an HOUR! All day I have been struggling to find the time to complete everything I need to do but somehow I just found an hour to browse social media. While I feel like I’m relaxing while I am doing it, I know I am not really relaxing AT ALL. This blog is such a powerful reminder to pause and examine exactly why I’m about to do something and what (if anything) I am going to get out of it. I love the idea of hypnosis to help with this.
this is so true! I can’t wait until you have a recording of this available!!! I feel like this is a very universal problem that people of many ages, genders, etc have and for some reason this topic feels like it could be a great intro topic for someone who wasn’t sure about hypnosis or wanted to get started with something that’s worth their time/impactful but also that feels less personal (and thus, perhaps less “scary”
Additionally, I think it would helpful to think about the things you COULD be doing with your time or perhaps what you used to do but no longer do and how being on your phone might be part of the problem. I personally don’t even think I’m aware of how much time I REALLY spend on my phone and how much time has actually been taken away from my songwriting, sleep, reading, etc. Phone addiction is my new norm so I don’t even know what it’s like and what I would replace it with anymore– I think getting excited about those alternatives/replacements would aid in the transition.
Oh gosh – this is so relevant. We are all SO addicted to our phones, it is insane. It’s SCARY actually. Walking the streets of NYC I crave human interaction and am saddened by how many of us are walking and looking down at our phones as we walk. I think this is such a necessary lesson – thank you for sharing!
Wow so powerful, I have been worried about my cell phone addiction for a few years now. I cannot put it down and check my apps constantly. I find it so hard to put my phone away and now have an app counting the time I spend on my phone and what I am doing. I love the idea of applying hypnosis to cell phone addiction and cannot wait to get started on setting myself free!
There have been many studies released about the harming effects of over use of cell phones. Just take a look around you at the coffee shop, nearly everyone from toddlers to seniors now have a device placed between their hand and face. It’s like watching the pixar movie Wall-E. I just recently heard that Simon Cowell gave up his cell phone and I thought, “good for him, I hope others follow.” I feel like the misuse of cell phones gives people who are leading un-happy or un-healthy lives a distraction so that they don’t have to face reality. My advice pick up the phone and call a hypnotherapist and then put down the phone and go talk with someone.
Yes! Those little “digital hits” we’ve all become so accustomed to. I started realizing how much time/energy/focus I was putting into my phone a few years back and I began a weekly”digital detox” every Sunday. I stuck with it for a few years but now I’ve fallen back into bad habits. I love learning that hypnosis can help nip this bad habit in the bud. How wonderful would it be if our kids– as they grow up with these devices– also get hypnotherapy around their relationship to their phones so they don’t have to fall into addiction even as they daily make use the technology.
Great read and definitely something to think about! We are often worried about children having screen time, but we should also be worried about our own screen time. I catch myself with this once in awhile and try to do frequent phone and social media breaks, so I don’t cross the line into addiction. Using hypnosis for this preemptively for teenagers so they don’t form the addiction in the first place seems like an awesome step forward in the digital age!
This article is so helpful! Even if you’re not actually addicted to your phone, the way you use it can still have a negative impact on the mind. The “slot” machine anagram is on point! Some days I get lost in my phone and waste a bunch of time just to feel guilty about it afterwards. I also use it a lot to avoid social situations (usually when I’m alone with strangers).
I have forgotten my phone at home a couple of times and it actually feels good to detach from it for a while. This is an exercise to see how many times you reach into your pocket only to find your phone is not there! Maybe you’ll find you’ve been using it way too much.
I think in today’s climate, this is such a critical topic as addiction to our smart phones is growing. Personally, it is something I am extremely cognizant of, both for myself and that of my children ‘s use. I think this a timely lesson for us all and it is brilliant that hypnosis can help us with this.
I can totally relate to having a subconscious mind desperately trying to protect me, constantly urging me to search again and again for the answer. I often find myself still scouring googletopia well passed midnight and I am usually a million miles away from my initial question. Looking forward to filling up this energy zapping rabbit hole.
This is becoming so important! No one, self included, feels complete without their phones! It will be critical to get back to human interaction or we could seriously loose that skill set. My husband and I went to a showing of “Screenagers” a few months back and that was the first time I was introduced to the idea of Cell Phone or Electronics Rehab. I couldn’t believe it! But as a self proclaimed Googler of all things, I came home and poured through the information online. It makes perfect sense that we are addicted. Seeking and finding fires the reward center… it had to when we were Cavemen, this associates to the gaming (winning) and Googling (finding what you’re searching for). Being accepted (likes) was important to our survival in a tribe. And being seen as desirable fired our reward system relating to procreation. Such an important topic and we have to get ahead of it or it will get ahead of us. Thank you, Grace!
I started using a focus app on my phone and use the focus session in the grace app so that I can stop using my phone. This is so great to share because so many of us are on the phone. I have a tracker as well that gives me a report each week on how much I am on the phone.
I had never heard/read the term Nomophobia until now. But can 100% understand that it’s a real thing! The other day I was walking down the street and 4 out of the 18 people that I passed made eye contact with me. Not all of them were on their phones at the time, but I thought it was pretty telling of the ‘training’ that has occurred due to the phone use. NO ONE is looking each other in the eyes anymore. They are trained, more apt, to ‘like’ a photo on instagram than speak to the person (who may have posted the picture they just liked) on the street. One of my most dear teachers gave me homework for the rest of my life… don’t pick my phone up for the first hour I’m awake and put it away two hours before I go to bed. It’s a game changer. Addiction is REAL and I see it happening all around me. I do all I can to distance myself from social media and ways that keep the device from entering my hand. Thank you for this blog. Super informative and spot on! Happy there is hypnosis that can aid in this widespread fixation!
After spending time at home for the holidays and seeing the way my parents and my teenage nieces and nephews use social media I was shocked by how pervasive smartphone addiction can be… no one’s safe! Well, at least that’s what I thought before I read this and was reminded that with the use of hypnotherapy anyone can reach the state of balance they crave.
I’m already seeing some of the signs of phone addiction in my son. We are ‘consciously’ working on it now, but if it does not start to get better with that, I am grateful that I have hypnosis as a tool so we can correct it subconsciously. ♥
Living in Las Vegas, I can see the slot machine effect of a cell phone.. great read!!
This article is so true! People can’t live without their cellphone. We are in a crazy world where technology takes over. It is sad to see so many people on their phone all the time. There are no more conversations between people because they have their nose on the screen of their phone. This article was very helpful to understand how can hypnosis help people. It will be helpful for me.
I find myself holding my phone mindlessly flipping through applications with no purpose. It’s in that moment that I realize, I have a problem…
I’m excited to see that the Cell Phone Addiction Hypnosis series and single are available! Yay! I love the idea of putting down our phones — my first step was to turn off almost all notifications…and turn my phone face down while I’m working. 🙂
I think that everyone knows someone who is “addicted” to their phone. It was interesting to read the differences between what we often refer to as phone addiction and what true addiction really is. Addicted or not, we all are probably getting that dopamine bump by checking the phone. For me it is better than a piece of chocolate because there aren’t any calories involved! But I don’t like the pattern that the blog explains is being created in my mind every time I reach for the phone for a quick pick me up!
yes i noticed myself using social media always having to post something everyday and then keep checking to see who responded. I meditate regularly 10 -15 mins i found that it makes me self aware. So i disable the social media apps when i have to do some work and dont want to be distracted also when i sleep i put my phone far away from me. I just went on a one week dive trip with no signal it felt so great that i didnt feel the need to post much anymore. I learnt to slow down and it feels really good! and you have more time to do other things.
It is scary how addictive our phones have become. This article shines the light on the issue. Hypnotherapy is a great way to overcome this type of addiction and many other addictions. I have shut off all the notifications on my social media apps. It is amazing how just that small step helped me.
This is so important! It’s incredible how easy it is for us to get totally addicted to our cell phones these days and we end up missing out on so much, while gaining so many insecurities and anxieties. So thankful for the cell phone addiction series here on Grace Space.
This post is so relevant, I can’t think of a single person who doesn’t relate to this in some way…so informative and empowering at the same time. I know I need to always take personal accountability for my phone usage and work to make it conducive to my life—otherwise, what’s the point? It’s too easy to get caught up in the vortex and I know I need to be a model for all the young people in my life, who are getting addicted as children and will have a much harder battle to fight. They need us to be the example, this blog was a great reminder of the importance of taking back control.
This is a very prominent problem of this generation. With all of the social media supposedly bringing people together, it is actually dividing us. As people sit at restaurants with a group of people, instead of enjoying the moment, they are looking at their phones or feeling they need to post the moment. Hypnosis can help with so many different issues.
It is nice to see this is getting addressed as in issue for some. I see so many that are so focused on phones that they aren’t connecting at meals or other times. It is a convenience to have access to things to kill idle time, but some don’t seem to be able to handle sitting in idle silence for a few seconds.
I cannot count how many times I have been in a place and looked around to see 97% of the people there on their phone, even when they are sitting with another person! And I am not judging, because since I have entered the entrepreneurial world, I have noticed I have begun doing the same thing. Often when with someone, I feel the pull to check my phone, to post on Instagram. I constantly feel my mind buzzing on what I need to do next, which prevents me from being present. Even when engaged in work, I often get sidetracked to check my phone. I never thought I would be sucked into cell phone addiction, but here I am! So grateful for hypnosis to help me close my eyes and get free :).
This post really brought to light how I use my phone to avoid things. The mini slot machine metaphor was right on!
My sister is constantly on her phone. She plays games, looks at Facebook and Instagram and other things. It is annoying to have to compete with her cell phone. I know hypnosis is for those that want to give up an addiction, but sometimes people don’t even realize they have an addiction. Or for that matter want to give it up. It makes them feel good to get feedback. This is an addiction that a lot of people need to break and like smoking, maybe the only thing that can help them to change their minds to seek help is research on the harmfulness of the addiction.
Digital Heroin… Yes it is!! Crazy how we have phantom vibrations from our phones. This addiction is so powerful, it appears to help us get out of socially uncomfortable situations – we just pull out the trusty phone and avoid eye contact. yet it ends up being socially crippling. Thank you for blogging about this addictions, Grace, people need this desperately!!!
I’m so thankful that this is an available resourse. I think there is a general knowledge about phone addiction but few available solutions are talked about. As if it’s accepted and a social norm to be addicted. When we excuse a bad habit or addiction it only gives way to reinforcing it. Too often people plug in to their phone so they can unplug from harmless social setting, such as any line or form of waiting.
I am completely responsible and aware how addicted I am to my cell phone. I live in NY and my family is in Mexico. I love being in touch with them. Sometimes is overwhelming not answering the posts on FB, Instagram, WhatsApp, IMessage, everything we have surrounding us is making us more dependable of our cell phones. This is the moment to start releasing the need to communicate only by an emoticon or a written word. We need to get closer and talk more. Silence is not right. I have seen how important is for people be connected with someone they probably haven´t seen for years. What about the people you love the most? “Reward” is the right word. Thanks for reminding me the importance of making our lives less dependent from our cellphones and stop looking for “rewards”. Great article!
Cell phone addiction is like Pavlov’s dogs. Pavlov’s dogs are programmed through the use of a bell to receive a reward. Cell phones use beeps, dings, chimes and many other programming aides to get our attention and alert us that there is a reward awaiting. The more we use the phone the more we are rewarded and then it becomes a habit. I love that through hypnosis we can reprogram our subconscious mind to put down the phone, turn it off at night, and take breaks from the phone to prevent the need, anxiety, and stress that the phone has come to mean.
What an enlightening article… This sentence hit me hard “Those alerts, those red numbered new message icons, and those updates about the latest Netflix release… They’re all little rewards. They have the same effect on the brain as winning a few tokens at the slot machine.” It makes me feel used? Like the people behind social media psychology are intentionally creating programs to keep me addicted to social media! I find comfort knowing that that we can take actionable steps with hypnosis to combat phone/social media addiction. “Hypnosis empowers us to create new associations with cell phones. Whereas, we might have only considered the positive; we can replace how the subconscious views smartphone use. We can reteach the subconscious that texting or checking our phones isn’t that important.” Awesome 🙂 An empowering message.
Wow, I never even thought about how phone checking is providing intermittent satisfaction like gambling, which is enforces behaviors SO MUCH! I find myself checking mine to fill in the time between other things – but then I forget I’m in the middle of something that is ACTUALLY important to me. I definitely want to cut back on my screen use – but this is tough because I also use my phone for work, for school, for family connections. One thing I did recently was I uninstalled the Facebook app from my phone and I only allow myself to go on Facebook on an old phone that I use for steaming and social media. It stays on a doc unless I actively pick it up so it helps me cut back on the endless scrolling but hypnosis would support this better habit building SO MUCH.