How Cell Phone Anxiety Can Rival Driving Anxiety and Driving Fears

cell phone anxiety

Driving fears and driving anxiety may come and go on a regular basis. But stress and anxiety that erupts from cell phone use can be a constant companion every single day of the year. Research coming out of California State University found that constant cell phone use tends to put people in a constant state of anxiety. And, because the anxiety operates on a positive feedback loop, the only way folks can alleviate the anxiety is to look at their cell phones.

Hands-on Experiment

Dr. Nancy Cheever spearheaded the research, which analyzed the relationship between cell phone use and anxiety. When interviewed by ABC, Cheever also conducted an in-person experiment involving an ABC journalist and two teens. After informing them of the experiment, the three participants were outfitted with measuring equipment that tracked their heart rate and perspiration levels.

Cheever then told the trio she was moving their cell phones out of reach because they may interfere with the measuring equipment. Participants could not reach their phones, but they could still hear them. That’s when Cheever placed multiple calls and texts to each person’s phone.

As the phones began to sound off, Cheever monitored stress levels on the equipment. She noted that when most folks hear their phones ring, they experience an emotional response that sends a deluge of stress hormones through the body.

Symptoms the participants exhibited included:

  • A spike in physiological arousal after hearing a text alert
  • Prominent sweating after hearing the phone ring
  • Other measured signs of stress and anxiety when phones rang but were out of reach

This short experiment served as a mere snipped of the levels of stress and anxiety many go through on a daily basis every single time they may receive a phone call or text alert. The long-term results of such constant anxiety remain unknown.

How to Decrease Cell Phone Anxiety

While cell phone use can help people feel closer to their friends, the phones also have a way of making folks feel like they’re on a leash and veritably trapped. Since the level of anxiety folks feel is directly proportional to the amount of time they spend on their cell phones, a key to reducing cell phone anxiety can be moderation. These quick tips can help:

  • Leave the cell phone out of the bedroom. Don’t take it to bed with you. Don’t charge it on your nightstand. And don’t look at it first thing in the morning.
  • Don’t check your work emails until you’re at work. Remember those days? Bring them back.
  • Leave your phone off the table during meals. And leave it behind when you’re out taking a walk, working out at the gym, or engaging in activities that deserve your full attention on the experience at hand.

Just as driving without stress can be the result of working on issues surrounding your driving fears and driving anxiety, lower levels and incidents of stress and anxiety throughout your day can be the results of moderating your cell phone use.


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