6 Ways Smartphones Stress Us Out

smartphoneHow are you feeling today? A little edgy, anxious … more than a little stressed? Yeah, well, you might want to take a break from your smartphone. A new study has found a link between compulsively checking your smartphone and elevated stress levels. And it's not just work-related checking that's to blame. Personal use of our smartphones – all those social network status updates and news feeds – is also making us jittery.

I don't know about you, but I sure didn't need a study to tell me my smartphone was stressing me out. For every advantage I've gotten through my iPhone (I can check my work email while I'm picking up my kids at school!), there's a stressful counterpart (I can check my work email while I'm picking up my kids at school), making it a true love-hate technological relationship.

What is it that stresses me out most about my smartphone? Here are six things:

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1.    I'm never off duty: Even while hanging out with my kids on the playground, I feel compelled to check in at work to make sure nothing pressing needs my attention, and I often have this niggling feeling that important emails are rolling in that I'm neglecting. Which probably makes me neglect my parenting duties. Which stresses me out.

2.    No one else is ever off duty either: How often do you meet a friend for lunch for dinner or coffee and notice that, while you're gazing at the menu or chatting amiably, she's furtively checking her smartphone? And when was the last time you got up from the table to, say, use the bathroom or put a quarter in your parking meter and returned to find that your dining partner was doing something -- anything -- other than checking her email or texting or browsing online? Yeah, I can't remember either. It's like there's always something a little more compelling or important than you going on out there. Which stresses me out. 

3.    All those Facebook updates and Twitter feeds: Why does it seem like everyone else is accomplishing more, eating better, reading more widely, traveling further, laughing more with their kids, and making funnier jokes than me – and more able to find the time to tell the world about it? It stresses me out.

4.    All those unanswered emails: I owe countless people return messages, thank-you notes, birthday greetings. I can't keep track. Probably lots of people think I'm neglecting them or just lazy and uncaring. That stresses me out.

5.    I can't even manage my apps: I have no idea what I even have on my smartphone anymore. There are the free apps I downloaded in the first thrill of having a smartphone, and the free apps my kids downloaded. For all I know, some apps are on there two or three times over. Is that possible? Who knows? But it stresses me out.

6.    My kids are always begging me to play games: Ugh. This is what I get for not getting them some other game-playing device. And then if I relent they squabble about whose turn it is, which … yes, stresses me out.

Do you think your smartphone is stressing you out?

 

Image via Nika/Flickr

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