In the digital age, many of us may feel addicted to our phones, sometimes scrolling through them multiple times a day.
But now experts have revealed what your mobile usage could reveal about your personality – from news-addicts looking for ‘control’ to ‘lonely’ Instagram users.
British expert Tamara Sears from the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) explained while many people browse our phones to access information or to fill time, your habits can reveal all about who you are.
She explained: ‘When it comes to figuring out what you are using your phone for or it might be worthwhile to think about how often you use it and to what purpose.
‘Do you use it to engage or to avoid? To learn or to relax? To connect or disconnect?’
She added: ‘Is it just a tool that you are in control of, or does it control you?’
Here Tamara reveals to FEMAIL what your internet usage shows about your personality….
Some of us spend more than 5 hours a day scrolling through our smartphones and are truly addicted. But have you ever wondered what your smartphone browsing says about your personality? Here FEMAIL finds out… (stock image)
You’re mainly scrolling through photos and videos of celebrities on Instagram
Tamara explained how looking at familiar faces on Instagram can offer someone to ‘turn to’ if we feel lonely.
She said: ‘Celebrities can represent something for us, a familiar face that we think we know, if we’re lonely, or a kind of life that we would like to emulate, or a role model that we would like to learn from.
‘They can also be someone to judge so that we can bolster our own low self-esteem, to dismiss or put down that celebrity as being inadequate in some way, which makes us feel better about ourselves,’ she added.
‘However, focusing on them all the time can provoke feelings of inadequacy if you constantly compare yourself to them, or the illusion of a self-esteem boost if you are always ‘bigging yourself up’ in comparison to them.
‘Whatever your focus on celebrities it is important to ask yourself, “What does giving this person my attention gain for me?”
‘If watching celebrities all the time is bringing you down, then it may be telling you something. You might need to shift your focus onto something more beneficial.’
You scroll through only news on your phone
The expert revealed that if you like to keep up with the news at all times, it might mean you like to have a sense of control, or something to talk about.
‘If you are only seeking out the news on your phone then it could indicate that you need to be closely monitoring what is going on so that you have something to talk to other people about,’ the expert said.
‘Or, you don’t really like talking to other people, but want to know about the things that are likely to impact upon you which can give a sense of control,’ she added.
She explained: ‘You may feel that using your phone for other things like social media or shopping is pointless.’
Expert reveals top three tips to stop that pre-bedtime scrolling and improve your sleep quality
UKCP Transpersonal psychotherapist John-Paul Davies explained: ‘Phone use is so widespread, even compulsive, because it meets all three of our basic human needs.
‘We can keep a constant eye on a world of potential problems, which satisfies our fear need.
‘The endless novelty of scrolling and “pull to refresh” stimulates the reward part in our brain in the same way as cocaine.
‘For our human need for connection, phones enable a surface level form of it, with potentially millions of people around the world.’
Phones have a deep impact on our sleeping patterns, and can cause serious disruption to our natural body clock.
He explained: ‘The blue light from a phone screen actually wakes us up.’
‘The resulting disruption to our natural body clock affects metabolism, appetite and mood, reducing melatonin and therefore restorative sleep.
‘With less restorative sleep, we feel more tired and have reduced concentration and focus the following day.’
According to UKCP, excessive phone use and mobile addiction is also shown to link to:
- reduced productivity
- relationship difficulties and reduced sex drive
- poor physical health (eye strain, back and body aches and hand and wrist strain).
John Paul went on to explain the three things to do in order to sleep better at night.
1. Read a printed book before bed
2. Stop phone use in the hour before sleep, find other ways to relax without a phone
3. Be mindful of what we’re looking at on our phones throughout the day so that anger and fear is not triggered at night
However, the expert warned that soaking up information can have an impact on your mental health.
‘The thing to remember though is that “bad news sells gladly” and “good news sells badly”,’ she said.
‘If you are only soaking up news information of a traumatic nature that reflects the worst of society then you may not be getting the full picture of how we all live,’ she added.
Tamara explained: ‘It is important to think about the effect upon your mental and emotional state of solely seeing the worst in everything rather than the best.
‘Every news outlet has their own agenda, so it might be useful to think about what part you play in promoting their agenda by giving them your attention.’
You only look at memes and funny videos on your phone
If you’re a jester who us constantly looking for funny content online, it might be a sign you’re procrastinating.
‘When funny memes are the sole focus of your intention it could be because you are procrastinating or avoiding other things in your life that require your attention,’ the expert said.
‘Sometimes if you are feeling down or upset memes can be an instant way to make you smile or laugh which can be helpful, but they can also be used to avoid difficult emotions that it might ultimately be better to face,’ she added.
Tamara added that memes make you feel like you belong to a community, without actually interacting with people.
‘It can be very validating to know that there are other people out there who think the same way that you do, even if you’ll never meet them,’ she said.
‘If you’ve never met them, you don’t get to know if you really would like to be associated with that person after all. Be careful, some memes evolve out of agendas that may not align with your own,’ she added.
You only read books on your phone
If you like to get lost in the digital pages of your e-book, you might be trying to escape real life, Tamara warned.
‘When reading books on your phone it might be an idea to think about the times when you reach for your phone to get lost in that book,’ she said.
‘Is it because it is a really good story, or because you are enjoying just learning about something new?’ she asked.
‘Is it because you like to escape from the reality of everyday life into a fantasy world that means you don’t have to confront the day-to-day messiness of living?’ she added.
Tamara said that a ‘little bit of avoidance’ can be helpful at times because it helps us recharge before heading back into the world
But, the expert said we should not indulge too much.
‘A lot of avoidance means you may have a problem that needs your attention. Do you read to learn, relax, avoid or escape?’ she asked.
You scroll through everything on your phone and you’re addicted
Of course, there are also people who are absolutely glued to their screens, and Tamara explained it might be down to discipline.
‘If you are scrolling through everything all the time without any focus it could be because you struggle to put limits on yourself,’ she said.
‘You may find that your attention is easily distracted and it is difficult to think about and focus on things that are important and matter to you,’ she added.
She said the issue can happen to people who are ‘people pleaser,’ because they are not connected to their own desires and needs.
‘If you are not connected to and clear about your own needs and desires, then it is easy to get caught up in focusing solely on others,’ she said.
‘If you don’t pay attention to what is important to you, it can lead to feelings of not really ‘knowing’ yourself and feeling lost and depressed,’ she added.
The expert concluded that scrolling at the time can reflect your inner struggles.
‘Many apps are designed to keep us scrolling so be aware to not let them have too much of your life. Your life is for you,’ she said.