Team Byrdie already knows the transformative power of taking the occasional social media cleanse and putting away our phones before bedtime. There's just something about taking a break from our phone screens that helps us to feel more at ease—more in the moment—than when we're consistently scrolling through emails, texts, and social media notifications.
According to Business Insider, science backs up our cell phone suspicions. Apparently, being constantly plugged into your phone can derail our mood and mental health for one big reason. That is, being in constant communications with work, friends, and even family can promote future feelings of anxiety. It has to do with the way we learn to deal with fear and uncertainty. Though our phones allow us to receive short-term reassurance, they actually train us to be dependent on others for maintaining our mood and mental health. Keep scrolling to learn more about the negative effects of cell phone dependency.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology Science and Practice found that uncertainty about a situation or outcome can actually benefit anxious people in learning how to cope and de-stress on their own. This isn't possible if you reach for your phone the second an issue crops up in your life (which, honestly, is what we all tend to do. How many times have you consulted Google, texted a friend, or called your mom when you were unsure? We do it all the time).
"That's a problem because it makes people dependent upon their phones and [on] others to regulate their emotions for them," Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and clinical social worker who appeared on TEDx with her talk The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong, told Business Insider. "You don't want to become overly reliant on any one coping skill. Instead, it's important to have a toolbox full of tools that you can use to cope with tough challenges and uncomfortable emotions."
Next time you're anxious about an outcome or unsure about a situation, try your best to face it and analyze it on your own. It might break your phone dependency and thus boost your feelings of independence, control, and accomplishment. Instead of texting or emailing someone for help, try journaling, listening to music, or going for a walk to clear your head.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions. See our full health disclaimer here.