Smartphone Stress: How to Beat the Buzz
According to researchers from the University of Worcester, who presented their findings at a recent meeting of the British Psychological Society, the number of times a person checks his smartphone is directly correlated with higher stress levels. The reason comes from the feeling that one "needs" to respond to every alert. And with phones connecting to everything from email to Twitter, those alerts can pile up.
You may be asking yourself, "But isn't staying connected with friends and family a good thing?" Well, yes it is; however, when the need to stay connected becomes obsessive and there is no time to be alone, stress can build.
In fact, people who are highly stressed by their phones experience what is known as "phantom vibrations," perceived beeps, buzzes, or alerts that never really take place.
What's more, a study conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that teens who excessively use their phones experience stress that disrupts sleep patterns, which can result in fatigue and restlessness.
How to Beat the Buzz
No one is asking you to throw your phone away. Our society values being in the know, and removing your mobile device completely will only leave you isolated.
Still, there are ways you can limit your use in a productive and practical way:
- Leave your phone at home when you're sure you won't need it—even if it's for a trip to the store.
- Change the type of phone you own. If you don't need a smartphone for work, switch to one without Internet capabilities. The web will be waiting for you when you get to the computer.
- If a phone with email is essential for work, delete any social media applications.
- Designate a time during which your cell phone is off limits.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Excessive Mobile Phone Use Affects Sleep In Teens, Study Finds." ScienceDaily, 9 Jun. 2008. Web. 13 Feb. 2012.
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