Thursday 23 March 2017

How to Make a Linked Photo in Facebook

Nicki Edgell

You know sometimes how you click on a photo in Facebook expecting it to take you somewhere and it just opens a larger picture of the same photo?

Here's how to avoid that and actually make a linked photo post in Facebook.

1. Go to your page (your business page if appropriate and you have set one up - if not and you want one please comment)

2. Write your post

3. At the bottom of your post, or somewhere within it, type (or better paste) the link to wherever you want the photo to go when someone clicks on it. Do this FIRST before posting the photo (the photo needs to be saved somewhere on your device so you can then select it)

4. IF you INSERT THE LINK IN FIRST Facebook will then give you a square box, or a series of square boxes, either with ready selected photos inserted already, or an empty box with a +. Deselect (or retain if you wish) photos already inserted and select the + and navigate to the photo you want to use from your hard drive. You can actually select multiple photos for a collage effect but invariably just one looks best.

It can be a bit of a mission finding the right size photos that will display properly (especially if they contain text) but smallish square or landscape seem to work well most the time. I find the 3 following resources invaluable for photo work -
and the Windows Snipping Tool

To reuse existing photos, with permission or acknowledgement where appropriate, you can usually click to open and/or right click to save as.

5. You also get the option to overwrite the text that comes up beside or under the photo (click on the text and overwrite if desired)

6. To keep it neat you can also then remove the typed link in your text, once the photo is in place.

7. Finally return/post/finish and you have a post with a linked photo.

Here is an example  Click on the photo in this facebook post and it takes you to your desired destination.

Monday 20 March 2017

Team Member Focus - Wingwave Coach Caroline Rushforth

Nicki Edgell

Caroline Rushforth trained at the University of California in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and is a certified Wingwave® and NLP Coach based in East Sussex, UK.

In our everyday life we are often exposed to stressful events and situations which have a big impact on our emotions and mindset. If our stresses are not alleviated in our subconcious mind, we become anxious, sad, angry or depressed and form habits and behaviours that are detrimental to our wellbeing. Having a negative mindset affects our confidence and personal beliefs in what we feel we can or cannot achieve, leaving us stuck and unable to move forward.

Caroline's unique programme combines the powerful techniques of Wingwave and NLP to dissolve any stressful barriers that are keeping you stuck, giving you the freedom to advance into your richly fulfilling and happy future.

Wingwave Coaching

Wingwave® is a scientifically proven and extremely effective technique originating from Germany. The method is a profound yet gentle process which involves shifting stuck emotions related to trauma and negative thoughts in the same way we do when we fall into REM sleep. 

"Having suffered anxiety and panic attacks for over 5 years, I have been able to get my life back through wingwave coaching. I have been able to resume doing the things that I want in order to reach my dreams."
This innovative method is the preferred technique for addressing stressful memories and unhelpful emotions that impact on our sense of wellbeing and accomplishment. Incorporating a uniquely designed framework wingwave makes for the perfect ingredient for powerful lasting results in a short space of time. The effects are very measurable and the success in dissolving blocks is usually achieved within one to three coaching sessions.
Break free and live your life the way you deserve to!  
Caroline is a certified  wingwave® Coach, Master NLP Coach, and Mentor, passionate about helping people eliminate the barriers that keep them stuck in their temporary pot holes. Based near Brighton, UK sessions are offered one-to-one, face-to-face, or via Skype, both nationally and internationally.

Wingwave® Coaching helps you to:

- mentally prepare for peak performance
- activate personal resources whenever you need them
- implement changes in every part of your life
- enhance your abilities and skills
- dissolve mental blocks that have kept you from being where you want to be
- overcome personal and professional disappointments and setbacks on the way to your goals
- transform your limiting thought and behavioural patterns into self-confidence
- increase your stress-resilience, creativity, and overall well-being

Caroline and Nikken

The subconscious mind is not just in our brain, it's a magnetic field that envelopes our entire body transmitting and receiving information like a current of energy. If you've ever felt the emotion of someone you care about, you've felt into their energy field like two satellites in communication.

As we move along in our daily life, our magnetic field can get knocked out of balance particularly when we are stressed, exhausted and surrounded by wifi, mobile phones and air pollution. It's no wonder we can ache, feel tired or ruminate patterns of negative thoughts. These wonderful Nikken magnetic products are a perfect solution if you're looking for a powerful but quick energy recalibration, or would like to soothe an aching body and mind and feel beautifully grounded.

Founded in Japan , Nikken’s innovative wellness products combine science, nature and technology to provide Total Wellness solutions that deliver results. These amazing products create a unique environment that addresses every aspect of wellness to support the health and happiness of your entire family.
"Our wealth is in our health and Nikken products support fabulous health by providing better sleep, quality air and water, improved exercise, and wholesome nutrition."


To learn more please call Caroline on 07881 998816 and visit or email

Caroline is also on facebook at

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Nikken Products and Autism

Nicki Edgell

While the exact cause of Autism is unknown, current research indicates that it is a complex neurobiological disorder impacted by environmental injury.  Today it is estimated that as many as 1 in 50 individuals in the US are diagnosed with Autism. At current rates of growth 80% of boys and half of all children will have some degree of autism within 20 years.

"Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability." (CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US, 2008)

The rise in Autism along with other chronic illnesses, immune and autoimmune diseases, is a warning to us all.

Fortunately, there are a number of therapeutic approaches that are very beneficial to those with Autism.  In addition, there are simple steps we can take to provide a healthier environment in our homes for our families with the Nikken Wellness Home.

Below are testimonials from families affected by Autism.  The stories range from incredible to amazing!  We hope you’ll find this information beneficial.  Please contact someone in our team for further details about how the Nikken Wellness Home can benefit you and your family.

The following is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Testimonials included in this document are provided by persons who want to share their positive personal experiences. The testimonials are not endorsed by Nikken, nor is there any implied claim of healing, therapy or cure for anyone reading them.

Angela’s Story

Angela is my 4 year old daughter, a pretty girl born with a lot of difficulties.  She was born with respiratory problems, she had trouble walking, trouble eating and chronic digestive problems (autistic symptoms).  Non verbal…not even sounds,  didn’t smile or didn’t laugh (depressed, I guess). Sleeping problems (no sleep).  Banged her head against wall or furniture. No eye contact. Sleep was hard to come by for my wife.

We were both really sad ourselves because of our daughter’s conditions. No energy, no hope. No solutions were offered, just bad news from doctors saying it would only get worse as she grew up. We were at our wits' end!

We were HOPING and PRAYING to get help… Then one day I bumped into Nikken and my life changed instantly forever.  When I got home with the products my daughter was asleep and I placed the magnetic pad on the bed and placed Angela on it.  WOW Angela slept way better (breathing was quiet). It was a miracle.  How could this be and why didn’t I know about this sooner?….I was excited and upset at the same time. I felt blessed but could not understand why I had to wait 4 years to find these great products. Angela spoke 5 days later (we both were hysterical).  She is now super happy, runs, jumps, talks, hugs, sings, and Daddy does too!   We are in love with life again.   I see a better future for my daughter and my family.  Thanks to these wonderful products.  I am forever grateful
I wanted to share this with YOU & with everybody and anybody.

Al Segala, a now very happy and excited man.

James’ Story

My son, James, was diagnosed with autism before the age of 3.  I started attending conferences all over North America, getting newsletters from all over the world and became trained in teaching modalities that showed us a good percentage of progress.  James is now 11.

Over the years, we made progress, but James still had a sleep disorder and a rash on his arms and legs that we couldn't do anything about.  I tried everything. For the sleep, I tried massage, Reiki, herbal remedies (melatonin), and even painted his room blue for a calming effect. Of course, the doctors were prescribing medicines throughout the years.

Yet every night, this child would get up and roam all over the house, turning on TVs with loud volume, turning on lights, and going into his brothers’ rooms and waking them up.  Needless to say I was struggling with lack of sleep myself.  It disrupted the entire household.

I decided to try a Nikken mattress pad on his bed.  It still amazes me. For the FIRST TIME IN EIGHT YEARS, I WOKE MY SON UP!  That was almost two years ago, and he continues to sleep every night, medicine-free!  His body is now doing what it is supposed to do, and he is now making more progress through the day because of this good sleep he is getting.  He is also now COMPLETELY medicine-free through the school day, as well!

He has had other positive effects from Nikken products, and if I didn't experience this myself, I would have never believed it.  The best part was how non-invasive all of these products are.  Autism is like a puzzle, and you are always seeking the right pieces that fit. Well, I definitely found some of the biggest pieces to help my son.  It didn't cure him, but his quality of life is so much better.  And isn't that ultimately what we all desire?”

Carla Piccarreto

Myles’ Story

My husband and I have two sons, our youngest son Myles is 5 years old and was diagnosed with Autism just after his 2nd Birthday.  Myles was non-verbal at the time, had little to no eye contact, and did not answer to his name. He also had a very high level of activity all the time, and very sporadic sleep patterns.

Since the time of his diagnosis we have been heavily immersed in all of the traditional therapies including behavioural therapy, speech and occupational therapy which have helped him to make great strides.

However, Myles’ sleep continued to be a very difficult piece of the puzzle.  It would take him anywhere from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours to fall asleep and then he would consistently wake up 1-3 times each night.  This had a very negative impact on our family as my husband or I would have to sit in his room with him until he fell asleep in order to avoid distractions and other behaviour issues.

In August 2006, I was introduced to Nikken.  We bought our wellness home at that time and added a second sleep system for Myles.  We saw a positive change in his sleep from the very beginning.  He now takes a maximum of 15 minutes to fall asleep!  This is an incredible relief to us!  Myles also wears insoles in his shoes, two sports bracelets linked as a necklace around his neck and has an air wellness traveller in his bedroom. He chooses to drink a great deal more water than ever before now that we drink Pimag water.  We’ve noticed that he is drawn to the Biaxial Body Energizer.  We call it the “relaxing machine” which translates to “laxing sheen” according to Myles.

In addition to the positive change with his sleep, his language has progressed a great deal as well.  We believe that this has to do with the layering of the products provided by our Nikken Wellness Home.

As parents of children with Autism we know that toxins in our environment negatively impact our children.  We cannot underestimate the value of clean air and water in our homes for the benefit of our children.

Shelly Roney

Mia's Story

Our daughter Mia was born in 1997. Late to speak and prone to violent anxiety attacks, she was diagnosed with various forms of autism. When she was in first grade, I was talked into bringing home a Kenko Sleep System, along with other Nikken products. I was not interested in the Sleep System so I put it on Mia’s bed. That night, she slept like a log, did not flop around, and did not grind her teeth for the first time ever in her life. The next day Mia’s teacher called me crying and informed me that Mia just stood up in front of the class and read a book out loud! I immediately bought Mia an entire Sleep System and noticed a complete transformation in my daughter. This literally happened overnight!

Lisa Sturt

Cade’s Story

I and my husband James have been fighting an uphill battle with our son, Cade, who was diagnosed with autism in 2006 at three years old. With modern conventional therapies working to reach into his mind to communicate and help him, progress was slow at best. Cade was diagnosed as a high-functioning autistic child but was still only at the level of a one year old. Our family is entirely health conscious, my husband and I are vegans (strict vegetarians), as are our children. We tried to modify Cade’s diet by eliminating gluten products, which could affect his mental status.

Those of you who are familiar with gluten foods, this is not a big step from veganism. But this did not prove altogether advantageous; there was no discernible difference in Cade’s progression.

Almost after a year of conventional medicine therapies, we were introduced to an alternative... Nikken. People who have children with issues will understand that a parent will go to almost any length to help their child. We weren’t opposed to the idea, but were also not willing to plunge headlong into something we knew nothing about.

My husband has been a nurse for 10 years, and worked as a paramedic 7 years prior to that. He has worked in virtually every possible patient care setting that nursing has to offer. He often tells me of the tragedies he has seen and the miracles he has witnessed, but to have a parent’s hopes for their child crushed by a diagnosis like autism is very devastating. So we did some research and study and learned that Nikken products have improved lives. Magnetic therapies, combined with an environment conducive to being healthy, have had positive results. Medical doctors cannot explain this other than to chalk it up as “coincidence”. But is it “coincidence” that when you treat your body the way it needs to be treated in order for it to be healthy and give it proper nutrition, water, air, exercise, and energy to function at its full potential, that it actually does function better? If a withering plant is in dry soil and you water it, does it continue to wither? Of course not, it begins to flourish and blossom.

Cade’s progress had been very slow up until we introduced Nikken into his life. His sleep had always been restless and he was extremely irritable when he woke up. His ability to focus and concentrate was a struggle, and he would have sudden outbursts which we learned to cope with by distracting him with other things. It was, by far, a difficult task.

To give you a minute idea of our challenges with Cade, here is an excerpt of his speech evaluation. The clinician wrote: “Cade simply was unable to participate in structured activities or assessments though a considerable amount of time was spent trying to help calm him down, settle in and sit in a chair to participate. The clinician allowed him to sit with Mum, stand by the table, and/or have a stuffed toy with him during the assessments. This held no interest for Cade and the assessments were discontinued due to his running around the room and his general inability to participate. The Functional Communication Profile was completed via live interview with Mum.”

These events are vivid in my memory and his behaviour in that office was no different than his actions at home. But after he had been sleeping on a Nikken sleep system (magnetic travel pad, pillow, and comforter) the first week, we began to see drastic changes. He slept soundly, no thrashing about, he woke up easily and wasn’t irritable. His focus and concentration improved and his outbursts were much, much less severe. It was, as some would put it (and we’re among them), a miracle.

“Coincidence” one might say... perhaps. So, we decided to let Cade sleep on a conventional bed for a night just to see what would happen, just to see if his change was “coincidence”. In the morning everything was difficult; it took him a while to wake up and he was irritable again. Throughout the day he, and we, struggled with his attention and focus. It was like he was his old self. Well, that convinced us, this child will continue to have Nikken products surrounding him. Not only has it proven itself effective for him, but it is risk free, there are zero side effects!

Now, Cade up to date is doing remarkably well. This little boy who struggled to maintain the level of a one year old can now complete a workbook designed for children from ages 4 to 6. He continues to make strides everyday and he is a jewel to every eye that beholds him.

We hope this decision to promote Nikken will help many other families who are struggling with similar issues. There are many other companies who carry magnetic products, air systems, water treatment systems and nutritional supplements, but Nikken is the only company with everything wrapped up in one easy package, not to mention the numerous testimonies given with tremendous positive results from their use.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and may you be blessed as we are.

James & Kitty Bann

Autism Speaks

Nikken has contributed support to Autism Speaks, a group dedicated to funding biomedical research towards the cause, prevention, treatment and cure for Autism. Please visit for more information.

Total Wellness

A Nikken Wellness Home is an unsurpassed environment for creating and raising healthy children. Nikken, a world leader in wellness technology for over forty years, brings together a set of technologies and prevention strategies that invite the benefits of the natural world into your home.

Nikken’s Wellness Home understands that good health depends on a balanced lifestyle. The company’s philosophy is about protecting people from 21st century influences that jeopardize their well-being. Nikken provides creative ways to build health every day through stress-reduction and products that promote wellness across a comprehensive line including five major aspects of daily living: light, sleep, air, nutrition and water.

Better Sleep for Rejuvenation

A good night’s sleep is an essential element for health. Children on the autism spectrum often don’t get deep, regenerative sleep. Nikken combines earth (magnetic) energy, sun (far infrared) energy, and air (ionic) technology to create deep relaxation and rejuvenation. The Kenko Naturest™ Sleep System’s four pieces are scientifically designed for a deeply restful sleep experience in a cocoon of soothing energy, replicating the conditions of the natural environment. To learn more about the Nikken Sleep System please visit

With grateful thanks to all the families who have shared their stories.

Statutory Notice: Although every effort is made to keep this information accurate and up to date this is not an official Nikken website. Kenko® Naturest® Triphase® Pimag® and Powersleep® are registered trademarks of Nikken. Our Independent Nikken Consultants do not make any medical claims. Nikken products are not medical devices and may not be recommended to treat specific medical conditions. People who are in their first 3 months of pregnancy, or who have a pacemaker, health problem or electronic device (either implanted or external) should consult their doctor or manufacturer of the device before using magnetic products. Do not place Nikken's magnetic products in direct contact with magnetically sensitive items such as watches, video and audiotapes, computer discs, credit cards and portable electronic equipment. The exact specifications of Nikken Products may vary between territories. Nikken is a networking marketing organisation. It is illegal for a promoter or a participant in a trading scheme to persuade anyone to make a payment by promising benefits from getting others to join a scheme. Do not be misled by claims that high earnings are easily achieved.

additional images from

Monday 13 March 2017

My Spring Equinox Newsletter 2017

Nicki Edgell

I’m very excited to bring you this year’s Spring Equinox Newsletter.  It’s a great time of new beginnings and of letting go of past wounds.  This can be a time of emotional and physical change with great possibilities for the next 6 months to bring what you want in your life into fruition.

So what does this equinox hold in store?  You will be feeling those letting go/pulling energies already. You or those around you may already have been experiencing headaches, rashes, bloating, irritability, nausea, cravings, heavy, achy limbs, flu-like symptoms or lack of energy recently. I am seeing a lot of itchy skin and nausea issues in my practice at the moment. These symptoms are signs that the toxins leaving your body are overwhelming your lymph, blood and liver. This is quite normal for the spring time equinox.
The Spring Equinox has long been celebrated as a time of beginning and renewal when day and night are equal length and herald longer daylight hours and an expanding energy in the earth and in our bodies. 
This is the time when the energy of the earth changes its spin and can literally send us into a spin energetically and into a natural detox.  This letting go of toxicity can be on a physical and emotional level.  This year in March we can expect powerful shifts – rebirth propelled by the unexpected to bring equilibrium and balance to our lives.  Ask yourself – what is it that needs to heal on a physical/emotional/spiritual level? Set your intentions to release from limiting beliefs so that you can heal from any pain you have been holding.

With all the detoxification your body is going through you can support yourself at this time and reduce symptoms by following these guidelines.

  • Keep those toxins moving out of the body with a pint of warm water first thing, and again mid-morning, mid-afternoon and mid-evening.  I recommend the pimag waterfall filter as it provides you with alkaline, structured, mineralised living water.  This really helps combat acidity and dehydration in the body.  I love the clean taste and light/smoothness of the water I drink.  Here’s the link if you want to check it out. (

  • For breakfast, have some protein to help avoid blood sugar symptoms listed above. Move away from porridge/cereals and try a smoothie made with soaked almonds or pea protein powder, apple, ginger, avocado and a few green leaves or a mushroom omelette or pancakes made with egg and mashed banana and cinnamon.

  • Eat seasonally and start to alter the foods you eat to match the energy of the spring.  Make the transition towards a lighter diet with lots of chlorophyll-rich green vegetables. Slowly increase your raw intake but still include some warming soups and stews with plenty of bone broth and add plenty of fresh herbs just before serving. Cut down or eliminate alcohol which will tax your liver more at this time.  Cut down on sugars of all sorts (bread, cakes, cereals etc) which are inflammatory.

  • Include ginger daily to support your kidneys.  Increase potassium rich foods – green leafy vegetables, parsley, watercress, peas, bananas, apples, avocados, apricots, nuts and oily fish.

  • Use naturopathic techniques such as daily dry skin brushing with a natural bristle brush, brushing towards your heart to stimulate your lymphatic system.  Also, tap lightly across your chest, just under your collar bone to stimulate your thymus gland.  Take epsom salt baths 3 x a week at this time of year.  You may need to use enemas or a colonic at this time to help support and clear organs that may be struggling. You may also consider a far infrared sauna or using the far infrared sleep products that I recommend from Nikken.

  • Exercise is really important to keep the lymph moving.  Using the high intensity interval training method everyone can maximise the effects of short bursts of exercise even those of you lacking in energy.   Also start taking longer walks in nature if you haven’t been doing so over winter.  Start digging in the garden or allotment. Removing the weeds and preparing the ground for the new growth and abundance both metaphorically and in reality.

  • Connect with nature’s energies of magnetics from the earth, the far infrared warming energy of the sun and the negative ions we breathe down by the sea or in the woods. I think we need as much help here as we can get as most of us live 90% indoors. That’s why I teach about Nikken and their use of these natural energies in products that we use in our daily lives in our homes: to drink clean energised alkaline water, breathe negative ion rich clean air, to have quality sleep cocooned in nature’s energies, to bathe and shower in clean filtered water.  All of these passive lifestyle choices will support rejuvenation and a return to energy and health not to mention provide you with protection from the harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation from wifi, mobile phones etc.  You can read more about these technologies at and I would love to invite you to attend the free event I am organising here in Brighton on the 25th March at the Jury’s Inn (the information about the day is here to find out more about this way of supporting your health.  Book your free place via

  • Using techniques like Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping) can help clear emotional blocks.  I also now offer Theta Healing to help reprogram neural pathways and change limiting belief systems that are causing stress.

Finally, remember to be gentle with yourself over the next couple of weeks.  Take time out to look after yourself and focus on keeping those routes of elimination open. Create positive thoughts and intentions and focus on what you would love to create in your life during the expansive growth of the next 6 months.


Spring Smoothie Recipe

1 apple,
Large handful of spinach – chopped,
Piece of ginger,
Small handful of soaked arame/dulse seaweed,
½ avocado,
Juice of ½  lemon,
1 tbsp ground flaxseeds, and chia seeds
1 tbsp ground almonds,
½ pint coconut milk AND Pimag water
1 tsp turmeric powder and a pinch of black pepper

Blend all ingredients together.  Add any supplements you take – eg. fish oil, vitamin D3, B complex – and if too thick add some more filtered pimag water to get your desired consistency -  chew it as you drink and enjoy!


If you would like help with moving through this equinox period smoothly or would like to harness the power of this natural time to detox, to lose weight, gain more energy, sleep better, reset/rebalance your hormones… give me a call or email me for a chat or to book in for an assessment or a 1-to-1.

If you would like to find out more about how to protect and support and energise yourself naturally, I am now doing regular demos to give you an experience of what happens instantly in your body when you are near nature’s energizing and balancing magnetic, far infrared and negative ions.  Come along and see the magic for yourself on the 25th March, Jury’s Inn (behind Brighton Station) 10.30-1pm (book your free place at

I must say I am so grateful to have my own wellness home to protect and energize me and my family at this moment in the cycles of the year.

Many of you will already be members of my Nutrition and Healing facebook group.  If not, do ask to be added.  I share there anything to do with health and healing.

I love these interactive means of keeping in touch and welcome questions or feedback.

Wishing you a very happy and smooth transition to Spring.  Nicki x


You can call/email me for individual health advice or look at my website for more information

Call/text/email for my next Active Wellness Demo dates held in Brighton or we can create events wherever groups want them.

Go to for Nikken support.

or call 07786 405366

Sign up to future newsletters from me using this link
Please do pass this newsletter onto anyone you think would be interested.

Thursday 9 March 2017

Five Ways to Break Your Phone Addiction

Nicki Edgell

How long do you think the average work email goes unread? An hour? 10 minutes? 5 minutes? 1 minute? Try 6 seconds!

70 percent of office emails are read within six seconds of arriving.

Instead of improving our lives, technology is increasingly getting in the way of enjoying our lives. And the biggest source of trouble is the smartphone.

Some might say that they are not addicted to technology — they just enjoy it. But those same people probably say things like, “I wish I had more time to do the things I love.”

People average 3 hours a day on their phones - for the younger generation this is at the conservative end of the scale. In the pre-smartphone era that number was less than 20 minutes.

When asked whether they would prefer to have a broken bone or a broken phone 46% of young adults opted for the former.

Is Phone Use Really an Addiction?

Addiction is about soothing psychological distress. It’s using something to cope with a problem in life. You only develop an addiction when there is some psychological motive that hasn’t been fulfilled: loneliness, bullying, heartache or tragedy, or simply the inability to make good things happen in your life. It doesn’t actually matter what you use to soothe that addiction, whether it’s playing a particular game that lulls you into a distracted state or whether it’s taking a drug.

In terms of soothing those psychological ills, behaviour and substance addictions are very similar. We live in an age of anxiety. Phones are a way to soothe that anxiety. But they can also add to that anxiety. Some researchers refer to smartphones as “adult pacifiers.” We get cranky, bored, or distressed and the pacifier soothes us. But it's only a temporary fix and the more we use it, the more we need it.

Often when we spend an evening watching mindless reality TV or on Social Media the pleasure is extremely fleeting often leaving us with a feeling of a missed opportunity or having wasted our time. We sort of know we would have gained more from reading a book, concentrating on a good film or sharing a meal with a loved one in person, but we can't help it!

Have a look at this fascinating infographic courtesy - it shows that the Apps deliberately designed to use up more of our time are also the ones that make us the most unhappiest! Go figure!

So it is hard, we are all battling an addiction. Technology like the smartphone can't be disinvented but how can we use this technology to actually enhance our lives rather than detract from them? Read on to discover some practical tips:

5 Tips for Breaking the Habit

1) Say Don't Instead of Can't

When you make the commitment to change, tell yourself, “I don’t check my phone more than once an hour” as opposed to, “I can’t check my phone more than once an hour.”

Don’t is a declarative statement about what kind of a person you are. When you say you don’t do something you give yourself the power to have made the decision not to do that thing. When you say can’t it feels as though some external force is telling you that you shouldn’t be doing this thing. The way human motivation and decision making works is that we do much better when it’s something that feels like it has arisen within us. We don’t like being told what we can and can’t do.

Studies have shown that people stating that they can't do something were only successful 10% of the time, whereas those stating that they don't do something were 80% likely to follow through. 

There are various other language tricks you can employ to empower your decisions. Use firm "I" and "do" and "will" words rather than vaguer words like "might" "try" "maybe" and "think". How much more powerful is it to say "I will do that on Monday" rather than "We think we might try to do that sometime"? Be definite and commit.

2) Proximity Is Destiny

When you don’t absolutely have to have your phone by your side, put it somewhere you can’t easily reach it. In a different room or at least out of reach.

Just by making it that little bit more difficult to do something, we will do it less. 

Design your environment to maximise your well-being. One way to do this is to ensure your addictive temptation is far away. So if there’s something that you keep doing obsessively (whether it's a phone, going to the biscuit tin, or the TV remote) make sure that it’s not in your immediate environment and you’re less likely to do it. That’s a much more effective way of preventing yourself from using it than say keeping it nearby but trying to just suppress the desire to use it.

This is one time when our natural inertia and laziness works in our favour.

Technology can be a great tool if you use it. If it uses you it can lead to problems.

If you absolutely need your phone nearby, turn off all non-essential notifications, or turn the power off altogether and just turn it on periodically. When it's on turn off the “ding” sound when you get a text message so that instead of your phone shouting constantly, “Hey, check me now,” you decide when it’s time to check. You’re removing the control from the phone and you’re bringing it back to yourself.

Anti-social media

3) Use A Stopping Rule

Ever said you’re going to “just check your phone quickly” — and then an hour goes by? You check email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram… and by the time you’ve done all that, it’s time to check email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram again.

Researchers term this the “ludic loop.” It’s what slot machines and online gambling websites are designed to produce. The “ludic loop” is the phenomenon that when you’re engaged in an addictive experience, you are lulled into an almost hypnotic state of tranquility where you just keep doing the same thing over and over again. It becomes so comfortable that you don't stop until you are literally shaken out of it.

So what you want to do is make sure you have that interruption planned ahead of time — create stopping rules and frame them with "I don't".

Eg. "I don't watch more than one episode of a show in a row."

"I don't work past 10pm."

"I don't check my emails on the weekend."

Young people today have not known a non-internet world

Even better set a physical timer such as an alarm or an automatic power cut off time for your PC or internet (especially useful for children).

The rule breaks the reverie and makes you think of something else; it gets you outside of the space you’ve been in.

4) Don’t Break Habits. Replace Them.

Proximity is destiny and works both ways. If you want to do something, you have to be in the position to do that thing. If you want to sleep more, you have to be in bed. If you want to get fit at the gym, you have to be at the gym. If you find you read most when you are in the bath, have a bath. If you are constantly late for work set your alarm for quarter an hour earlier and change your mindset from one of having to leave the house by 7.45 say, to one of having to leave your house by 7.30.

So keep things you want to reduce away from you, but at the same time put things you want to encourage near to you. So when you sit on the sofa, make sure the phone is far away AND a book is within reach. So now you’re not just gritting your teeth trying to not check your phone. You’re substituting a good habit for the bad one. When you want to check your phone, you grab a book instead.

Find a behaviour that is a stand-in for the behaviour that you don’t want to be doing. You replace the bad thing that you don't want to be doing with something good that you do want to be doing.

On your phone or tablet hide the time wasting apps away and put the good ones on the front screen.
So when you lift your device without thinking, checking Facebook is a pain while reading books is easy. Checking your phone actually becomes a good thing. Even better, if you want to read more books use a Kindle specifically designed for this purpose where internet browsing is difficult or impossible, rather than a distracting Ipad or phone where the temptation to check the internet will be too much.

If you only really need your phone for texting and phone calls why not bin the smartphone and go back to a basic brick style phone such as the classic Nokia where even photos, let alone internet, are impossible. You'll also save money and enjoy unrivalled battery life - ironically a much smarter phone choice!

The smarter phone is making a comeback

Remember the feelings, memories and satisfaction you have after an evening absorbed in a good book, an album (yes a whole album!), an inspiring film, or a socialable night out with your partner or friends. Or the tangible sense of achievement gained having completed a piece of work, a personal challenge, fixed, started, or learnt something, or just caught up on a good night's sleep. Compare that with the blurred sense of time wasted when an evening is spent on Facebook, or the realisation that your 10,000 tweets (read and remembered by no-one) could have gone towards a 140,000 word novel! Remember this when you are next tempted.

Spending time on Facebook is a bit like eating a Big Mac. It tastes quite nice at the time and there is some instant gratification but five minutes later you feel sick and dirty!

5) Dr. Jekyll, Prepare For Mr. Hyde

In Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale Dr. Jekyll knows he’s going to turn into a werewolf after nightfall so he barricades the door and chains himself in the basement. This way, when he transforms into the monster, he won’t be able to harm anyone.

Dr. Jekyll knows its coming so can plan ahead

By making smart decisions in anticipation of a problem, you make sure the future-you doesn’t do anything inappropriate like rudely checking your phone in company. Of course it is hard to do the right thing all the time so increase your chances by encouraging your future-self by planning your future environments. If you are going out to a dinner party and you know you are susceptible to the temptation to check your phone at the table every five minutes, leave it in your coat pocket knowing that the lack of proximity will hinder this desire. If you need to keep it on your person just turn the power off.

Have you ever noticed how you keep returning to the biscuit tin knowing there are biscuits in there. Once they have run out your need miraculously disappears.

If you have a sweet tooth and know you easily succumb to the chocolate in the larder take a step back and realise you only eat it as it is there. Next time you are in the supermarket don't buy any and you won't have any in your proximity the next time the temptation arises. Obtaining new chocolate is too much bother.

Sum Up

Tips to help you stop checking your phone:

  • “Don’t” say “Can’t”: You can always check your phone. But you decide to be the kind of person who doesn’t.
  • Proximity is destiny: Put your phone across the room and laziness becomes a superpower.
  • Use a “stopping rule”: Leaving the house with your phone at 5% battery is extreme… but it’ll work.
  • You don’t break habits. You replace them: Good apps up front. Time wasting apps hidden or deleted.
  • Dr. Jekyll, prepare for Mr. Hyde: Give your phone to a friend before you drink so the werewolf can’t drunk-text exes!

Addictions start when there’s a problem in your life you’re struggling to cope with. So checking your phone way too much can be an indicator of something awry. When you have good ways to soothe your worries like good relationships with people you love, you’re less likely to develop behavioural addictions.

Addiction is really about soothing a psychological ill and that’s true no matter what the addiction is. People who have a strong social support network, who have a very full life, tend not to develop addiction. So the long term solution is not about the phone. It’s about getting closer to that special someone and spending more time with them. And letting that bond soothe the worries you’re running to your phone for. So if you are reading this on your phone, text or email that person. Let them know you care. And then don't hang on an answer— put the phone away.

Shared, edited and adapted from Irresistible: Why We Can't Stop Checking, Scrolling, Clicking and Watching by Adam Alter, and This Is How To Stop Checking Your Phone: 5 Secrets From Research by Eric Barker.

To learn more about taking back control from our devices have a look at and listen to this brilliant Sam Harris podcast

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