Do you feel bothered by your phone notifications? The unwanted and never-ending notifications make you scroll through your phone mindlessly for hours and for no good. We don’t realize it but somehow they are affecting our mental health and sanity.
A lot of research has been done on how a phone affects the brain in terms of radiation and cancer involvement with not many convincing results. However, one thing is for sure that the phone is changing our behavior, mental health, and well-being as well. But turning the notifications off can actually have long-term mental health benefits. We got in touch with Dr. Sonal Anand, Psychiatrist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai to explain to us how.
Dr. Sonal said, “The number of likes and positive comments that we get activates the reward center of the brain and hence addiction becomes highly likely. While the positive influences of social media on societal change cannot be doubted, the individual negative effects are what is bothering research scientists.”
The constant virtual phone communication deprives one of a face to face interaction which is critical as non-verbal cues and body language have been an integral part of our evolution. The virtual image and real image become two parts of the individual and the resultant conflicts arising from the disbalance of the two is what mainly brings about negative changes.
Cognition is definitely affected by the rampant use of phones in the form of attention, memory, and prioritization problems. Sleep patterns could get dysregulated due to the blue light from screens leading to further problems.
Constant notifications trigger anxiety
Addiction to a phone is what most people and parents fear and for good reason. This constant bombardment of information makes the brain less focused on the task at hand and makes us prone to a variety of mental health issues. Anxiety and depression, being stress-prone, are known effects of prolonged use of the phone.
Dr. Sonal further explains, “Suicidal behavior due to prolonged and continuous phone usage has also been observed. Being anxious about phone notifications is a worrying trend. Fear of missing out (FOMO) can really keep you on edge and make you constantly keep an eye on notifications. Phantom vibrations are experienced by many people. These mysterious tricks that the brain plays make us check our phones unnecessarily and find mistaken sensations from the phone.”
Turning off notifications helps you focus on things that matter
Sometimes some people are on the phone waiting for notifications because they feel that there is nothing else to do. “These common habits definitely affect interpersonal behavior and just a simple measure of turning off notifications from time to time can really help improve the situation. It reduces anxiety, stress, makes you focus better, definitely helps you sleep better and have good real relationships with others,” Dr. Sonal concludes.