Kathryn Smith, Clinical Psychologist, Psychology Consultants, Brisbane
Our ability to completely switch ‘swipe’ off from the world has set a new-age challenge, with many of us so addicted to our phones that the idea of switching it off or leaving it at home is totally absurd. In fact, so absurd that for many people, particularly amongst the younger generation, it causes a great deal of stress to be without one’s phone.
Many people report feelings of stress when they don’t have their phone with them and this feeling is warranted, after all, the device in many cases has replaced large parts of our brain, namely our memory and imagination. All jokes aside, research has shown that in high stress situations, a person’s phone can provide some relief, acting as a security blanket. Staying connected is important; an inbuilt part of the human psyche, so when faced with stressful situations, being able to reach out is only natural. However, if you are unable to function without your device neatly tucked in your back pocket or hot little hand, you may need to reassess the reasons for your not so fluffy security blanket.
Research shows that the connection between mental illness and phone use depends on the reasons for use and using a phone to avoid boredom or high stress situations has little correlation. The fear of new technology amongst the public is nothing new and has been occurring for generations as each new tech fad replaces the last. The most important thing to remember when it comes to our personal devices is to not to let it replace human interaction, social common courtesy and the ability to make good use of our brain.
It is also important to set a good example for the little people in our world by not always resorting to your phone to fill gaps and fix boredom. Being bored is an excellent way to make use of your imagination, have a conversation, learn something new, and notice the world around you.
Set yourself a little challenge this week by leaving your phone at home for the day and see what differences you notice in yourself by the end of the day.
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