Many people consider their smartphones to be something they can’t live without. These small devices pack a big punch. They have the ability to help us so much in our daily lives with things like keeping track of schedules, finding important information, staying up-to-date on current events, and maintaining social connections.
Unfortunately, smartphone use has also introduced a lot of negative effects into our lives that can be quite harmful if we don’t learn to manage them and find a healthy balance. Let’s take a look at some of the ways your smartphone could be stressing you out and causing you harm.
“Smartphones put us in an ever-increasing state of hyper-vigilance, where we’re always feeling compelled to check our calls, texts, social media alerts, email, and more,” says David Greenfield, Ph.D., founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction. “This keeps the adrenals constantly activated and cortisol levels elevated.”
And that spike in cortisol—known as the stress hormone—helps explain your increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety, as well a dip in mental performance.
This, of course, doesn’t mean you should keep your phone attached to your hip and never let a text go unanswered, Greenfield says.
“We only have a limited amount of time each day, and heavy use of technology eats away at it,” he says. In fact, once you’re distracted by an alert or a ring on your phone, it can take nearly a half hour to get back to your original task, the researchers report.
You might hate to hear it, but Greenfield suggests blocking off some phone-free time so you can actually get stuff done. That means turning your phone completely off—the buzzing of a vibrating phone can have the same effect as a ringing one.
Start with times when you don’t actually need your phone for productivity purposes, such as when you’re eating meals, spending time with your family or friends, and especially while you’re sleeping. (In fact, stash it in another room for shuteye.)
“At first you may feel some anxiety, but the more you do this, the more that will lessen,” Greenfield says. (– menshealth.com)
4 Ways your smartphone could be stressing you out and causing you harm.
1. Lost Productivity
As useful as these devices are and as convenient as they make our lives, they can also contribute to a great deal of wasted time. Think about how often you check your email messages or look in on social media throughout your day. Some people feel like they’re tied to their phones, jumping to answer every alert they hear. It can really keep you from doing more important things.
2. Lowered Concentration
In fact, being on such high alert all the time has led to a downturn in our ability to concentrate on a daily basis. When you’re taken away from a task by the dinging of an email message, it can be really hard to get back to what you were doing. Multitasking is not something most of us excel at, and it can actually make it more difficult for us to concentrate on what matters.
3. Poor Sleep
We know that getting a good night’s rest is imperative for being your best and feeling calm. Nighttime smartphone usage can severely impair your sleep. Your phone’s bright light actually tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Melatonin, a natural sleep hormone, is then suppressed. Thus, your sleep pattern is disrupted.
4. Decreased Mental Health
Smartphone use can be fun and informative. Studies have also discovered a negative effect to mental health. Research shows that using your mobile device excessively can result in a number of negative effects on your mental outlook. Depression, anxiety, impatience, frustration, and irritation were all noted. These feelings are detrimental to your wellbeing and to achieving a sense of calm.
These are just some of the ways in which reliance on your smartphone can stress you out and cause you harm. That’s not to say cellphones are bad or that you shouldn’t use them. They key is to finding a balance that works for you. If you feel like you may be too dependent on your device, try limiting your use.
Schedule times to check in with your electronics and remove your smartphone from your physical vicinity when not using it. Give these suggestions a try to see if you don’t notice an improvement in your mood.