If you’ve ever found yourself checking Instagram on your phone while waiting in line at the grocery store, or scrambling to respond to a Facebook message while driving, you know how addictive alertasocial can be. But what if I told you that it’s not just harmless addiction? Your notification habit could be ruining your life.
A recent study found that 36% of people check their phones up to 25 times per hour.
- A recent study found that 36% of people check their phone up to 25 times per hour.
- The data was collected by the University of Michigan and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Social media apps are programmed to keep you hooked.
The good news is that social media apps are programmed to keep you hooked. The bad news is that they use psychological tricks to encourage addictive behavior, and those tricks can lead you down a path of compulsive checking, careless posting and the occasional meltdown.
The best way to avoid getting sucked into the vortex? Download one of those handy anxiety-reducing apps (or listen to some soothing music) before logging on to your favorite social network. Once you’re in the app, take a deep breath and see if you can resist checking your notifications every five seconds by using these simple strategies:
- Try setting an alarm for 15 minutes or so after which point it will notify you that it’s time for a break!
Receiving a notification causes your brain to release the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is associated with pleasure.
Receiving a notification causes your brain to release dopamine, which is associated with pleasure. It’s the same chemical released when you do something good for yourself or others, like eat your favorite food or give someone a hug.
Dopamine can be addictive, so if you’re constantly checking your social media notifications and feeling rewarded by them (via dopamine), then it’s possible for that behavior to become an addiction. The more often we receive these instant rewards from social media and other apps, the more likely we are to continue using them and that can result in some serious problems because of how dopamine affects our brains.
Checking your phone repetitively can cause stress and anxiety.
Repeatedly checking your phone can cause stress and anxiety. If you constantly check your phone, you’re probably feeling some level of stress or anxiety (even if it’s just a little bit). This is because the more you check, the more stressed and anxious you will become over what notifications might be on there.
This can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach aches. It can also affect your mood by causing depression or making you feel more irritable than usual when something bad happens on social media (or in real life).
Having too many notifications can overload your brain and lead to information exhaustion.
Have you ever felt like you were getting too many notifications on your phone? It’s a common problem, but it’s also much more than that.
Information overload is the result of being bombarded with too much information at once. The problem can cause anxiety and stress, leading to information fatigue a condition that lowers productivity, makes procrastination more likely, and could even lead to burnout if left untreated.
If you feel like you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, then it’s time for a change! Try turning off notifications entirely or only setting them up for essential things like calls and texts from family members (or maybe even just one friend who knows how to have fun). You’ll thank yourself later when you aren’t constantly checking Slack or fumbling for Facebook because a notification came through.
Having notifications on may cause you to have less self-control.
If you love to check your phone, then having notifications on may not be such a problem. But if you’re like most people who struggle with attention span, self-control and impulse control, then having notifications on is one more thing that will make it harder for you to focus on the task at hand.
Notifications can also cause a lot of stress and anxiety for some people because they make them feel like they have to respond immediately or miss out on something important even if that’s not true!
If notifications are causing this much stress and distraction in your life, there are ways to manage them:
Notifications may lower productivity at work.
Notifications can be a distraction, causing you to lose focus on the task at hand and make mistakes. If you’re working on something that requires a lot of concentration, like writing an article or completing a spreadsheet, and your phone keeps dinging with notifications from Instagram or Facebook, it’s going to be hard for you not to check them every few minutes.
Additionally, if someone sends you an important message that requires your immediate attention (like when there’s an issue with their order), but then they also send another text asking how the first one went and then have another question about said order after that…well then what do you do? You may end up feeling like your hands are tied by these notifications; in order to keep up with everything happening around them and not get left behind people often feel compelled to respond immediately rather than prioritize their work tasks.
Distracted driving is one of the biggest dangers of having notifications on.
Distracted driving is one of the biggest dangers of having notifications on. Even if you’re not in the driver’s seat, you can still be distracted by social media’s steady stream of updates.
You should never use your phone while driving, but if you absolutely must check that Instagram notification or respond to an email, it’s best to pull over first and then do so.
While this may seem like common sense, it bears repeating: The safety and well-being of yourself and others depend on your awareness while driving or riding in a vehicle. If there’s even a remote chance that an object could distract you even something as simple as a cup holder don’t look at it! You need 100% of your attention focused on the road ahead at all times; anything else could cause serious injury or death for you or someone else on the road with you (or both).
Notifications disrupt sleep patterns and affect moods.
Have you ever found yourself awake at 3:00 AM, unable to fall back asleep? The culprit may be your smartphone and its insistent notifications.
Notifications are a common feature of social media apps, which constantly send us messages about new likes or follows. These interruptions can lead to poor sleep quality, anxiety, and depression even in healthy people! Notifications can also disrupt our circadian rhythms (the body’s internal clock), leading to fatigue during the day and difficulty sleeping at night.
When we’re stressed out, our bodies produce higher levels of cortisol the “fight-or-flight” hormone that’s released when someone faces danger or experiences intense emotions like fear or anger. Studies have shown that chronic stress also decreases the number of new brain cells produced while increasing brain cell death in mice models; it may do the same in humans as well! If this isn’t enough evidence for you yet well just try reading this article again tomorrow night before bedtime:
It’s time for a digital detox!
As you can see, digital detoxing is more than a fad. It’s a way to live more mindfully, and it will help you take control of your notifications and find more balance in your life.
Digital detoxing doesn’t have to mean any social media for days on end or cutting off all communication with friends, family members, and coworkers. Instead of limiting yourself to just one day off per week which could potentially be stressful if you don’t make plans beforehand try doing something like this every other day instead:
- Limit notifications by going into each app’s settings and turning off sound alerts. If that doesn’t work for you (or if the thought of not knowing what’s happening on social media makes your heart race), set up an automatic reply explaining that you’re in detox mode right now so people won’t think something bad has happened! You can also turn off push notifications altogether under “Notifications” in Settings.
- Turn phones face down when at home so they’re not constantly calling attention to themselves; this also helps us resist checking them out when we don’t need them urgently enough yet still feel compelled by digital addiction symptoms like anxiety or FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Try setting alarms throughout the day so it feels less overwhelming when trying new things!
So, what can we do about it? We live in a world where social media apps are integrated into almost every aspect of our lives. They’re here to stay but if you want to keep your sanity and live a happier, healthier life, you need to take control! Take some time out of your day (or night) and turn off notifications on your phone. It’s super easy, and it’ll make a huge difference in how you feel about yourself. Plus, it’s always good to disconnect from technology once in a while so that we can reconnect with ourselves.