Ignoring Your Phone Could Decrease Anxiety, So I Apologize In Advance For Not Returning Your Calls
"She was a girl who for a ringing phone dropped absolutely nothing." That's the start to my favorite short story (J.D. Salinger's "A Perfect Day for Bananafish") and an attitude I've always endorsed — even moreso now in the smartphone age. Sure, we're all pretty much always accessible by call, email, or text these days. But I find it overwhelming to continually stop what I'm doing to field these interruptions. Though it annoys the heck out of family and friends, I'm at peace with my laid-back phone response policy. And now I have bonafide science to back up the wisdom of ignoring phone calls and texts.
According to a new study from Kent University, avid cell phone users are less happy than those people who are not as attuned to their phones. The folks that are least able to resist a ring or text alert also showed greater anxiety levels than their electronically aloof counterparts.
For the study, researchers surveyed more than 500 college students about daily phone usage, life outlook, and clinical anxiety levels. They also checked out these student's grades.
Overall, high cell phone usage was correlated to lower grade point averages, higher anxiety, and lower satisfaction with life relative to those who weren't so attached to their phones. "There is no me time or solitude left in some of these students' lives," said lead researcher Andrew Lepp, explaining why constant connectivity may take a toll. "I think mental health requires a bit of personal alone time to reflect, look inward, process life's events, and just recover from daily stressors."
Earlier this year, another study lead by Lepp found a negative relationship between cell phone use and cardiorespiratory fitness. The results suggest that students should "reflect critically" upon their cell phone usage, say the researchers. Might I suggest they also be more patient with friends who will get to your damn text message when they get to it, OK?