“Help, I’m suffering from phone-related stress!”
This may sound silly to some, but there appears to be some truth to the idea that smartphones can make life more stressful.
Many people look at electronic screens 24/7, and it seems this behavior contributes to their heightened stress levels.
People talk about how they are “addicted” to their phones, and the constant checking of messages and social media has a similar effect in terms of the stress it causes. According to a recent study by the American Psychological Association, compulsive phone-checkers report “much higher levels of stress compared to people who look at their devices less often.”
The 2016 APA study polled approximately 3,500 adults, and 4 out of 5 said they check their devices “constantly” for texts, emails and social media posts. Of these “constant checkers,” 42 percent reported that social media conversations about politics and culture were causing them significant stress. They also said they worry about how social media is affecting their mental and physical health, compared with the 27 percent of people who said they check their devices less often.
Smartphones give us unprecedented access to the world of ideas, but we need to remember what our priorities are, and keep things in perspective. You can start to take your life back the way other addicts do: Recognize you are experiencing the negative effects of overuse, and follow commonsense rules to limit these effects.
Here are some tips to help you overcome smartphone stress.
Keep your phone in silent mode during work hours. The less your phone is summoning your attention, the fewer times you’ll drop what you’re doing to see what someone has to say about the latest news headline, and the better you can concentrate on your tasks.
Turn your phone off early. You need the evening hours to wind down and rest from your day, so aim for allowing fewer disruptions during this time by shutting your phone off early in the evening.
Turn your phone off during dinner time. Time spent together at the dinner table is important for families to better connect and have meaningful conversation. This means kids need to keep their phones off during mealtimes, too.
Keep your phone in another room. When not in use or when recharging, keep your phone plugged in where you’re not spending the majority of your time – like in the kitchen. This will keep you from compulsively checking your phone during the night or first thing in the morning.
Be considerate with your phone. Don’t keep your phone on during meetings, even if it’s a casual meeting over coffee. Keep it turned off during family activities, kids’ sports and movie nights. You can wait to find out what’s happening on Facebook later – your real social life is sitting right in front of you. You and your family or friend deserve quality time away from smartphones.
Anything that seems to be interfering with your real-life interests, family, job and health is something to be concerned about. If you’re not able to turn off your device long enough to enjoy relationships and be productive, it may be time to seek help for your phone addiction. Your doctor can talk over these issues with you and can refer you to a mental health professional if needed.
Have you experienced stress related to your use of personal devices? Share your story below.