Stressed Out? You Might Want To Turn Off Your Smartphone

If you’ve been feeling stressed lately and want to do something about it, one study has shown that it you might want to turn your spiffy new smartphone off, or at least not check it so often, TechCrunch reports.

The British Psychological Society presented a study done on 100 people by the University of Worcestor. They found a correlation between the number of time people check messages on their smartphones and the levels of stress they reported. The researchers also believed that smartphone use contributes to what they call a “helpful-stressful cycle,” where people buy the phones in order to stay in touch and they just end up creating more stress instead.

Cell phones and other mobile devices seem to have erased the distinction between work and leisure time. This is especially true in industries like journalism where people don’t necessarily work the standard 9 to 5. (News has a nasty habit of happening at odd hours.)

“Organizations will not flourish if their employees are stressed, irrespective of the source of stress, so it is in their interest to encourage their employees to switch their phones off; cut the number of work emails sent out of hours, reduce people’s temptation to check their devices,”  one of the researchers, Richard Balding, said.

Of course, as scientists are quick to point out, correlation doesn’t necessarily equal causation. Science works by repeating the tests others of done and seeing if the results are the same. If other researchers found a correlation between smartphone use and stress, then psychologists would know they were really onto something.

Although some people might think that stress might be motivating, it’s actually unhealthy in the long run, with effects ranging from headaches to heart attacks. You might think that one missed phone call or email might damage your career, but is it really worth grinding your body down? You can’t really be productive if you’re six feet under the ground, can you? There’s nothing wrong with ambition, but it might be a good idea once in a while do just step away from your email, put down your phone, kick back and relax. The whole point of working is to have money in order to enjoy yourself, right? As Lily Tomlin said,  “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.”

Image credit: @boetter