Stress is something we tend to deal with on a regular basis. There are all sorts of contributing factors: work, school, family life, and now according to a recent study your smartphone.
The British Psychological Study (with a name like that how can this not be true) states that by just turning off your smartphone you can instantly reduce the stress in your life.
Now, I should preface this with the fact that most psychological studies are designed to get published; which means psychologists will only report findings that prove their own initial hypothesis. If you don’t believe me go watch the TED talk by Ben Goldacre on Bad Science.
Since so many of these studies are misleading, I decided to test whether turning off my smartphone for a day actually decreases my daily stress level.
I took on this dangerous study so you don’t have to. The things I do for the people I love.
In order to be as scientific about this process as possible, I took the stress level test at anxietycentre.com the day before I began the study to get a baseline of my day-to-day stress level. I got a score of 12, which is considered normal. The next day I began my experiment and wrote down how I was feeling through out the day.
Below are some of my observations:
8:00AM – Woke up and immediately tried to check my phone for email, but since it was turned off I used my computer. Stress level: Normal.
10:30AM – Left class and my hand immediately went for my phone to check Facebook. A little frustrated that I couldn’t check it right then and there. Stress level: Normal.
12:30PM – Get a Facebook message from a friend asking where I have been and why I did not return her texts. Stress level: Above Normal.
3:00PM – Starting to worry I am missing important emails and texts from work and organizations. I know I can check email on my computer but the immediacy is gone.
5:00PM – Several people have emailed asking why I have not called them or responded to emails. Stress level: Heightened.
8:00PM – I am starting to realize that always instantly responding to people has made turning my phone off extremely stressful. Especially since everyone expects me to respond immediately. Stress Level: High
12:00AM – Glad the day is over and I get to use my phone again tomorrow. I took the daily stress level test again and scored a 40. Stress Level: Moderately Stressed.
This is just my experience. You should try and see if turning off your phone has an effect on your stress level.
The study done by The British Psychological Study obviously found a correlation between stress and smartphone usage. The real problem, in my opinion, isn’t smartphones. It’s the expectations from work, friends, and family that we should always be available. One way to reduce your stress maybe to turnoff your phone, but a better way is to let the people around you know that during certain times of day you are not available to them.