Cell phones are fantastic tools; they give us access to limitless knowledge, keep us in touch with loved ones and most of all, they give us endless amounts of social media and news to consume. The one problem is these little bricks of endless entertainment can cause extreme stress.
A study in 2017 by The American Psychological Association found that people who check their phones frequently are more likely to be highly stressed. The same study showed that notifications from phones can trigger our fight or flight response. This increases our adrenaline and tires our minds and bodies.
Now I’m not looking to throw my cellphone out of the window because of a bit of stress, but as a college student, I’m already under a lot of pressure from grades, paying rent and social obligations.
That’s why I started having specific times throughout the day I allow myself to check my phone. Often, I’ll only check it between classes to make sure people are not trying to reach me or first thing in the morning to check my email and schedule.
On top of checking my phone less, I began finding different ways to stimulate my brain besides scrolling through Twitter and Instagram. First, I’m trying to interact more with those around me. I also try to carry around some form of entertainment: a book, a crossword or a simple non-internet connected gaming device, like a Gameboy. I know some people who even enjoy just having something to fidget with while waiting for their next class.
The biggest difference I’ve found from these small adjustments is how I feel when relaxing. I no longer feel as stressed about the next day or about what I could be doing because I know there is a time and place to be stressed.
While these are just my experiences and we everyone handles stress differently, I think we could all use a break from our phones now and again. Everything is wonderful in small doses.