Boost your brainpower and reduce your stress
Do you want to improve your focus and decrease your stress levels? Then ask yourself how many hours per day you spend using your smartphone to check your messages, browse the Internet, or post to social media.
While you might not know the exact amount of time you spend looking at your phone, it’s highly likely to be more than an hour. In fact, according to Quentin Fottrell in his MarketWatch article “People spend most of their waking hours staring at screens,” on average in 2018, American adults spent two hours and 22 minutes on their phone each day.
Disadvantages of smartphones
While these devices certainly offer many advantages, they also have some significant downsides. As Sandee LaMotte explains in the CNN article “Smartphone addiction could be changing your brain,” they can be highly addictive and even have a negative impact on your cognitive abilities. One study showed that people who become anxious when their access to their smartphone was restricted had higher levels of GABA in their brains. This leads to poorer control and attention — and negatively impacts your ability to focus.
Smartphone use can also increase your stress levels. In her Time article titled “Smartphones Are Really Stressing Out Americans,” Alexandra Sifferlin describes a study that showed that so-called “constant checkers” — people who constantly check their texts, emails, and social media — were more stressed than people who didn’t report such heavy smartphone use. In fact, 42 percent of constant checkers stated that conversations about culture and politics on social media caused them stress, and the same amount were also concerned about how social media was impacting their physical and mental health.
Constantly switching between tasks — such as checking your phone while you’re at work — increases the levels of cortisol and dopamine in your brain, as Hilary Brueck explains in her article “This is what your smartphone is doing to your brain — and it isn’t good” for Business Insider. So the stress of checking negatively impacts your functioning, while the reward of doing so makes you crave more smartphone use.
Strategies for limiting your smartphone use
So how can you limit your smartphone use? There are several methods you can employ, such as turning your phone off when you’re at work or after a certain time in the evening. You can also delete all of your apps to eliminate your ability to play games or check social media on your phone. Turning of sound alerts can also be useful, as it makes interruptions less intrusive. And finally, find healthy alternatives. Read a book, go for a walk, go to the gym, or start a new hobby such as cooking, journaling, golf, or crafts — whatever makes you feel good.
Although your smartphone is a necessary tool — and one that keeps you connected with loved ones, friends, and work — it can have a negative impact on your life. By limiting your smartphone use, you can regain your focus, lower your stress levels — and as a result become happier and more productive.
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