Smartphones are normally associated with increased convenience and connectivity. These tools make us more productive as we can keep tabs with our work in a more organised manner. If not managed properly, however, smartphones can be counterproductive and create some real problems, such as anxiety. If you feel that increased usage of your phone and stress are positively correlated, you may need to re-visit your technology habits.
Some people develop addictions to their smartphones, leading them to bouts of stress when this is not in hand. This is referred to as “nomophobia” where people would feel a sense of fear when they do not have a mobile phone in hand. It is important to keep in mind that rather than the phone itself, it is the apps and games which may lead to this anxiety.
One of the main reasons why people use smartphones is indeed for chatting and communication. People use the smartphone to maintain virtual relationships and may feel anxious when they are deprived of this communication. If for example, a message from a friend takes longer than expected, this may lead to frequent tapping in the hope to see the desired reply. This frequent tapping and usage might increase anxiety and stress.
Excessive use of smartphones will also put you in a position where you consume too much information, steering away from the more important things in life such as meaningful relationships, work and hobbies. This without mentioning other compulsions which may lead to anxiety such as gaming, gambling and excessive online shopping. You may end up with more anxiety to begin with just because you engage in activities you do not need, simply just for the thrill! To top it all off, some people use their phone to treat existing stress and anxiety, which in turn makes it only worse.
Research also indicates that phones do not correlate well with work. Some people become more anxious with phones beeping during work time. This is understandable as people would be distracted by their phones, thus making it more difficult to focus, increasing the chances of mistakes. When using your smartphone regularly, this increases the chances of having your work slither in your personal life. This creates anxiety for two main reasons; the fact that you do not detach from work and that your spouse and children may complain that you do not spend enough time with them. The need to constantly be on top of emails, hence hooked on to your phone leads to higher stress levels and burnout.
Apart from the downsides mentioned further above, excessive smartphone use may contribute to your anxiety due to lack of sleep. Using your smartphone frequently and just before going to bed can negatively impact your well-deserved rest, thus leading to more anxiety.
Have you ever felt any of these symptoms? It may be time to ditch your phone.