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Smartphones are a miracle of technology, no doubt. They allow nearly instantaneous global communication. They can help you navigate the most unfamiliar cities and give you access to expert-level advice and information. There is no disagreement that they are a prominent feature of our society.
All things come at a cost.
This article is all about your phone and includes 3 ways on how it can cause you anxiety.
Something I have noticed in my own life, and maybe you have noticed it in your life too. I’m hoping that by reading this article you’ll be able to analyze your life and say: “Hey, should I be on my phone as much as I think I should?”
The very first way your phone might be causing you anxiety is the Social Media ON it that can create unhappiness and anxiety.
Quick disclaimer: I’m not fully against social media or anything like that. I use social media every day, I have a Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter page.
The biggest factor that can cause anxiety on social media is Likes. Yes, that pop-up notification that your dream crush liked your picture on Instagram? That’s what am talking about. Likes are the currency of Social Media.
Think about the last time you posted on Facebook or Instagram, after you made that post, did you went back and checked fairly soon to see how many likes you got? We are all victims of this. I will embarrassedly admit that I’ll make a post on Instagram and check every 5-10 minutes to see how many likes I’ve got. If you think about it, it’s kinda crazy, I mean who the hell cares?
This applies to almost all the users, not only those Social Media Influencers with thousands of followers and likes. When you get an X amount of likes you are like: “Oh wow, that’s kind of cool”. It makes you feel validated, special, and worthy. But, if you make a post and it doesn’t do well, you are wondering: “What happened?” “Did I do something wrong?” and you inherit that negative “What am I doing wrong?” attitude. On Social Media, your success is measured by Likes, but you can’t 100% control how many likes you get, only to some extent.
The biggest platforms of the world are designed using psychology to create emotions and feelings within you. If your post does well you automatically feel special and happy, so you create extra content. If it doesn’t do well, you are left wondering how to get more likes, etc. Either way, you stay longer on these platforms. That’s why they are worth billions and billions of dollars.
As a result, people get addicted to this, and if you’re measuring your success with Likes, you are setting yourself up for failure, instead of measuring it with things you can control, like skills, your relationship with your friends and loved ones, etc.
The second way that your phone can be causing anxiety is through notifications. If you have notifications coming in all the time, that’s forcing you to always be connected, to always be entertained.
Push notifications are ruining my life. Yours too, I bet. Download a few extra apps and you will drown in endless and constant notifications of useless information.
I get notifications when an acquaintance responds to a stranger’s Facebook post, when a show or a movie that I don’t care about comes to Netflix or when a YouTube video gets uploaded, then an email that a video got uploaded on YouTube.
When you have the phone next to you all the time, receiving these endless notifications, you are practically training your brain to need that stimulation. And when that stimulation goes away for a small amount of time, it can cause anxiety, leaving your brain wandering: “That’s not normal, where are my notifications??” and then you check your phone if you have a new message, email, new upload, etc. Your brain freaks out.
The beautiful thing about our human brain is that it can be trained, for the good and the bad.
So here’s a solution: Disable most notifications, keep just messages and phone calls. You’ll discover that you won’t miss the pile of banners filling up your lock screen. Eventually, you’ll find that your brain is much more at peace when it’s not constantly entertained by them.
Your phone can be causing you to have poor sleep. If you aren’t aware of, lack of sleep or poor quality of it is a detrimental factor of some mental issues such as anxiety, depression, mental exhaustion, and health issues. Studies have shown that people with poor sleep quality are also more likely to gain weight.
One of the features that phones have is that they are these beautiful, shiny, bright screens, that often contain a lot of blue light.
Effects Of Blue Light On Sleep
While the light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin (the sleeping hormone), blue light at night does so more powerfully. Harvard researchers and their colleagues conducted an experiment comparing the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue and green light. The blue light suppressed melatonin levels for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs 1.5 hours).
So what does that mean?
It means that when you are getting exposed to blue light your body cannot produce the chemicals and the hormones that it needs in order to fall asleep easier.
If you are one of those people that when they go to bed, they pull out their phones and scroll down on Instagram, or watch an episode of their favorite Netflix series in order to fall asleep, you’re actually doing your brain and your body a disservice, making it even harder to sleep.
A solution to this is to download an app if you’re on Android that filters out the blue light from your phone, and you can set it to automatically change the color of your screen when it hits e.g. 9 pm. If you are on iOS, it’s called Night Shift and you can enable it from the Settings menu.
Okay, that’s it for this article on 3 ways your phone might be causing you anxiety. I hope you enjoyed it! If you enjoyed this article or you have something to say or add, please feel free to leave a comment down below!