Cell phones are more ubiquitous than ever. You’d be hard-pressed to find an American adult who leaves their home without their cell phone in their pocket or purse, even if just for a quick errand. With the rise of smartphones, we have access to anything we want—communication, games, information, navigation—with a few taps of a finger.
On top of that, with the influx of social media use, seemingly everyone is connected at all hours of the day, and most of us rarely choose to turn off our phones and disconnect from it all for a bit.
Naturally, while this connectedness allows for a more globalized world, it also comes with its downsides, especially when it comes to mental health.
As cell phones have become more commonplace, researchers have increasingly studied their effects on our mental wellbeing.
In a review of 23 peer-reviewed articles on the topic, researchers found ample evidence that exhibits a link between smartphone use and anxiety, as well as depression and increased stress levels. With higher levels of smartphone use came reported higher levels of these disorders.
One study found that participants who had high levels of regular cell phone use experienced separation anxiety from being apart from their phones. On the other hand, participants who had lower levels of cell phone use did not experience those high levels of anxiety when separated from their phones.
Another study even found that some highly cell phone dependent participants experienced the same symptoms of addicts experiencing withdrawal. When we get a notification, we experience a hit of dopamine—and it can become addictive.
Our phones have practically become an extension of ourselves. For many of us, when we take a hard look at our phone habits, we realize just how attached we have become to our devices.
Since we have concrete evidence on the link between cell phones and anxiety, it is smart to break down bad cell phone habits. These are a few practices you can implement to keep yourself from mindlessly staring at your screen and scrolling through social media apps.