The WhatsApp Detox? blog (in the Anxiety Life category), talked about listing everything that you have done in the day, then reading the list and ticking every item that you managed to complete without being distracted by your phone. It is probably a short list.
Starting from tomorrow, try to change your habits with your phone, for the sake of your anxiety.
The WhatsApp Detox? blog mentioned how receiving notifications actually changes your brain. What happens is that we receive gratification when we receive a text or an email, which creates dopamine in our brain. Dopamine is a reward, so you seek more, thus creating a cycle of the need for this response. In day to day life terms this means that it becomes harder and harder to stop looking at your emails, stop texting, or stop checking your phone to see if you have a message or a new text.
So why is this a problem, besides the fact that as our list may show, we are not managing to get things done without losing focus to our phone.
Dopamine is not just linked to pleasure. It is also linked to depression and addictive behaviour. There is a lot of research on this topic, and it is constantly evolving, but one thing is clear – a chemical reaction that gratifies will reinforce us to seek this, creating this addiction that many of us have with our phones!
Anxiety can be caused for a variety of reasons through our phone, seeing something bad happening in the world or a stressful work email, but simply the beep of the notification is creating depression and addiction in our brain. We are already suffering from over stimulation from modern life, so why add to it?
Change in behaviours, particularly addictions is tough. We may not see that we have a reliance on our phone and resulting anxiety due to this. That is why it is important to keep lists. Get yourself some nice notepads like Paper Junkie Kraft Notebooks (12-Pack) – Notebooks, Pocket Journals for Travelers, Diaries, Notes – 6 Happiness Themed Designs – Solid Lined, Soft Cover, 40 Double-Sided Pages, 10.2 x 14.6 cm
Then make sure to write down what you did and if you were mindful, or if your phone took your attention away.
It will take practise, see our other blogs on techniques to reduce phone stress, but the importance here is to realise that the stress is real, it is a chemical reaction in your brain and to REALISE how your phone is taking your attention and how many times a day. Realising is step one. Next step, dealing with this.