Is Your SmartPhone Stressing You Out?

Julie Shenkman
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If you find that you spend more time paying attention to your smartphone than to the environment around you, you may need to take a time out. Your smartphone could be stressing you out without you realizing it. Because of innovations in technology, the use of smartphones and tablets has blurred the lines between work, home and play. Here are some questions to help you decide whether your smartphone causes you unnecessary stress.

Do You Get Anxious When You See the Low Battery Signal?

Most portable devices run on some type of battery, and if you use your smartphone regularly, chances are you see the low battery signal often. If knowing you're about to go dark causes a panic attack, your smartphone is probably stressing you out. In fact, this need for people to stay connected has resulted in charging stations springing up at airports, college campuses and even restaurants. ChargeTech specializes in charging station kiosks, and its products appear in lobbies, waiting rooms and other shared spaces. It's the official charging station of businesses such as McDonald's, Whole Foods, Marriott and Nordstrom. If you find yourself searching desperately for that wall plug or charging station, or if you carry an extra portable power bank or two in your purse or bag, you're most likely being distracted from the important things around you, and you're letting your concern with being unplugged stop you from taking time to just breathe.

Do You Agonize Over No Signal or Lack of Wi-Fi?

To check email, play games, watch movies, browse the Internet and often run many apps, you need data. But what if you've got low bars or there isn't any Wi-Fi available? What do you do? It's almost as if you have no power. You're dead in the water, and your expensive smartphone has suddenly turned into a phone. If this type of situation causes you regular anxiety, your smartphone is probably stressing you out. Constantly checking work emails and answering them during off hours shows you're not off at all, you're always on, and this doesn't help you relax and recharge your own batteries.

What Can You Do?

When you've decided that using your smartphone so much is probably stressing you out, what do you do? What changes can you make to help you get that work-life balance that you so desperately need? One way is to create a device-free time when the use of tablets, smartphones and any other type of technology is banned, suggests pediatric researcher Dr. Jenny Radesky. Make it about family time or me time but not about smartphone time, and it can be any time you chose. This downtime from devices can even occur at work. Checking and answering emails or texting during meetings can also be unproductive and disrespectful. Leave the phone at your desk, and don't take it to the meeting. By managing your smartphone use, you take control of your phone; you don't let it take control of you.

Spending an unhealthy amount of time on your smartphone may be stressing you out. If you find that these signs are characteristic of you, try to manage your smartphone use so you can get that work-life balance that gives you a rewarding time at work and an equally rewarding time at home.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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