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7 ways to use Android's digital wellness app to decrease …

7 ways to use Android's digital wellness app to decrease ...

Ours every day smartphone they become more and more an integral part of our lives. School, work, shopping: many activities now require a telephone or benefit heavily from it. But our devices are a double-edged sword that can easily distract us and also harm our mental health, affecting digital well-being.

This is why Google introduced it Digital Wellbeing (or Digital Wellness), a set of Android tools to help you maintain a healthy balance between today's physical and digital world. If you think you don't need it, ask yourself when was the last time you spent an hour without checking your smartphone. Since I'm pretty sure what your answer will be, here are some ways to use Android's digital wellness app to decrease stress.

7 ways to use Android's digital wellness app to decrease stress

  1. Analyze your smartphone usage
  2. Set app timer
  3. Restrict notifications with notification channels
  4. Using do not disturb mode
  5. Set the Relax mode
  6. Stay focused with the "no distractions" mode
  7. Flip to shh

1 Analyze your smartphone usage

Before change habits, just like a diet plan, you need to know how you use your smartphone currently.

  • Open the Settings on your phone and select "Digital Wellness";
  • The first page will show how many times you have unlocked the device, the number of notifications and a pie chart with the daily use of each app;
  • Select "Dashboard" for more information.

After learning your habits, you will know which side to act on. Maybe you will need to gently step away from the social apps from time to time or limit the scrolling of the news feed. Regardless, take some time to meditate on the data and find what should be "cut".

2 Set app timer

Using another tool called timer app, you can set daily limits on the use of a specific app. Ideally, we recommend that you start with the apps you use the most. Depending on your needs, you should aim for a reduction in use of at least 15%.

  • To set the app timers, open the "Dashboard";
  • Select the hourglass icon to the right of the app you want to limit, then choose a duration of at least 15% less than the average time spent in the app;
  • Once set, at the end of the duration, the app will turn gray. If you try to open the app, a popup will appear informing you that the limit has been reached.

also possible set limits for the websites you visit:

  • Go to Settings -> Digital Wellness -> Dashboard and find Chrome in the list;
  • Select "Show visited sites", then a message will appear asking you to allow Digital Wellbeing to show the websites visited in Chrome;
  • Choose "Show" and a list of visited websites will be displayed here, which you can limit in the same way as a single app.

3 Restrict notifications with notification channels

Limiting the use of apps is only a marginal solution: without even unlocking the phone, you may find yourself with dozens of notifications on the lock screen. To remedy this without nuclearizing all notifications, you can use notification channels, a feature introduced in Android 8.

So instead of having to block all notifications from a particular app, you can only block certain types of notifications from that app. These channels can be configured to be "Warning" or "Silent", with the latter not making the phone vibrate or ring. You can set the categories so that they are not displayed on the lock screen, in order not to show an icon in the status bar and set a different notification tone for each type.

The use of simple notification channels:

  • Go to Settings -> Digital wellness -> Manage notifications and select the app you want to manage;
  • From there all the notification channels of the app will be listed. Touch one to set it up.

4 Using do not disturb mode

Use the notification channels a semi-permanent solution. If there is a type of notification that you actually want to see, but not when you are trying to "log out", it would be better to use the do not disturb mode (DND).

Everyone should use this mode before going to sleep. Several studies have confirmed that using the phone in the next hour to bedtime worsens sleep, so you should really block all messages except emergency ones. Fortunately for you, Android allows you to schedule the use of DND mode.

On Android 9 and later, you can configure calls from certain people to keep your smartphone ringing. You can also make sure that if the same person calls you twice within a certain period (15 minutes), the phone will ring on the second call as it may be important.

  • You can manage these options in Settings -> Digital wellness -> Do not disturb.

5 Set the relaxation mode

In addition to setting do not disturb mode so that it activates automatically when you go to sleep, you can also activate the relax mode, this option in the Digital Wellbeing menu compartments some functions to facilitate sleep.

The first main feature of the relax mode is the "Grayscale" option. When this setting is enabled, the screen turns black and white every time the Relax mode is activated (unless otherwise configured) to make the eyes less tired.

Secondly, you can also set the night light mode, which reduces the blue light emitted by the screen. This particular wavelength of light similar to daylight and can mess up the circadian rhythm. You can configure this mode for activation at the same time as the gray scale or later, for those times when you wake up in the middle of the night and take a look at your smartphone.

6 Stay focused with the "No Distractions" mode

Between work, school and everything else, it is easy to get overwhelmed and lose concentration. In this regard, the Android team has added a no distraction mode. This mode will allow you to choose the apps you don't want to be distracted by.

  • While the no distraction mode is active, any notifications from the selected apps will not be shown;
  • You can then choose a time to activate this function or tap on "Activate now" to enable it immediately.

Once activated, the distracting apps will be grayed out and you will no longer receive notifications from them. If you try to open the app, a popup will appear informing you that the no distraction mode is active.

7 Flip to shh

Finally, another feature particularly useful for enabling the mode do not disturb the mode "Flip to Shhh". With this function, present by default on Pixels, just place the phone face down to enable do not disturb mode. Conversely, do not disturb mode will automatically deactivate as soon as you lift the smartphone and turn it upside down.

If you don't own a Pixel, you can still use this feature by downloading the Flip DND app from the Google Play Store:

Flip DND Flip to shhh..shush!

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