Health / Self-Care

How to Kick Bad
Cell Phone Habits

6 ways to achieve a balanced relationship with your smartphone.

Person looking to change directions with his phone usage

“Phone, keys, wallet.” It’s our mental checklist every time we go out into the world. We rely on our smartphones for almost everything, but how healthy is our relationship with them? As more people put down their phones for temporary "digital detoxes," it pays to see if there's a better way to find balance with your smartphone when you pick it back up again.

Man using his Galaxy Note9 as he waits for the train

Track your phone usage

As with any lifestyle change, taking a moment to reflect on how much time you’re actually spending on the habit you're reassessing is key. Apps like Thrive can help you understand how much time you spend on your phone and how you’re spending it, so you can figure out when and where to scale back. Remember, tangible goals are key for long-term changes, and you can't set goals without knowing where you are in the first place.

See how to protect your eyes from blue light strain

Rhythm and snooze

"Blue light" is the term for light emitted from digital screens, and it doesn't play very nicely with your circadian rhythms. Too much of it can prevent your body from producing melatonin, a crucial part of a good night's rest, but blue light filters for eye care like Night Mode can help to reduce eye strain from cell phone usage, balancing your natural physiological processes and helping you get some sweet, sweet shut eye.

Know your SAR

Worried about cell phones and radiation? The Galaxy Note8 is said to have the lowest SAR (Specific Absorption Rate), meaning it emits the least radiation compared to other phones.*

See the Galaxy Note8
Woman enjoying her time to herself

Ditch digital and go analog once in a while

An easy way to dial back your reliance on your cell phone is to switch out for other things that can do the same job in different ways. Vary things up with an alarm clock, cookbook, radio or magazine—anything to encourage offline self-sufficiency.

Avoid smartphone thumb and cell phone elbow by taking safe selfies
Samsung Galaxy Note9 with a yellow Note Pen leaning on the side
Snap pics with S Pen

Use the Galaxy S Pen to control the shutter on your camera and put less strain on your arm.


Practice safe selfies

While trying to get that perfect selfie, make sure you protect yourself from tech-induced injuries like selfie elbow (yes—it’s a real thing). Tennis elbow's high-tech cousin, selfie elbow is inflammation from your elbow to your wrist caused by frequently bent arms. Be sure to rest your arm once in a while if you feel any discomfort, or try other ways to take selfies, like the S Pen.

Samsung Galaxy Note9 with a yellow Note Pen leaning on the side
Snap pics with S Pen

Use the Galaxy S Pen to control the shutter on your camera and put less strain on your arm.

Use your phone to connect with someone in a meaningful way

Phone a friend, your best lifeline

While a seemingly ancient way of keeping in touch, a simple phone call is often faster and more effective. Not only will you skip paragraphs of typing, you'll avoid inevitable follow-up clarification texts as well. Picking up the phone also helps avoid another tech-induced injury called texting thumb, a thumb pain from texting that can also occur in the wrist.

Enjoy your coffee without distraction from your phone

Perfectly out of reach

We’re all guilty of reaching for our phone without even thinking. Some psychologists are concerned that this urge to check our phones keeps us from having meaningful moments with the people around us. An easy solution might be to keep your smartphone out of arm’s reach, like across the office or in another room. It may sound simple, but there is truth in “out of sight, out of mind.”

Put the phone down once in a while

...but when you're ready to pick it back up again, stay balanced with some mindful mobile tools.

Back of a prism white Galaxy S10 phone, with the front of a black Galaxy S10 phone slightly overlaying on top

Galaxy S10e | S10 | S10+

Galaxy Note9

Galaxy Note9

Thrive App icon


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