Our Phones Are Stressing Us Out
It’s no secret: most of us are addicted to our phones. It’s a compulsive need that we experience, to stay connected at all times. In fact, the Pew Research Center reports that 92% of American adults have a cellphone, 90% of which say they keep their phone at their side most of the time.
On average, we may check our phones about 150 times a day for several reasons: work, social lives, breaking news, family, and just notifications in general – notifications that may not even be there. Yes, there’s such thing as Phantom Pocket Vibration Syndrome, in which we think we’ve received a notification when we really didn’t. This just goes to show how conditioned we are as a technology-driven society to expect some kind of alert at any given time.
Notifications and Stress
Much like the famous 1902 experiment by Russian Physiologist Ivan Pavlov, in which dogs were conditioned to salivate at the sound of a bell, we are also conditioned to respond to our phones. With every beep, flash, and vibrate, our phones command our attention, and if we can’t respond right away, we may even feel short-term anxiety, stress, or FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
For many of us, thoughts like, “They will think I’m ignoring them” or “They’ll think they said the wrong thing if I don’t respond right now” begin to nag us, inciting feelings of apprehension and urgency. This dependence, according to Psychology Today, often leads to users feeling stressed over needing to be available at all times. This lifestyle can actually affect our emotional, mental, and physical well being.
According to the American Psychological Association, stress that is short-term, such as meeting deadlines, being stuck in traffic, or in this case, phone notifications, can cause an increase in heart rate. That’s why it’s important for us to minimize stress where we can.
Stress We Can Control
Amidst all of the life stressors that we cannot control, we should find something that we can control – something that is always right there, waiting to ping us. By turning off our phones for an hour a day, we can give ourselves that moment of peace that we may not realize we need.
Not only is it important for us to minimize our stress, but we could really attribute that time spent checking our phones to something more productive.On average, users spend about 3.6 hours a day on their phones.Let’s use all that time to improve our health and happiness in a positive way. After all, it is time that we not just update our iPhones, but also our lives.