Is your smartphone addiction increasing your anxiety? 

Before you answer that, let me tell you that recent research suggests that smartphone addiction and internet addiction are very possibly increasing feelings of anxiety, depression and tiredness.

Earlier this week I was talking to a client who was telling me about her sleep issues, or more accurately, her lack of sleep, issues. Now one thing I always ask about in relation to sleep is the use of screens because we know that the light from screen means daytime to your brain and the temptation to check messages and social media can be overwhelming. You may find yourself getting stressed and anxious about your messages and e-mails or simply losing more and more time you should be sleeping to scrolling through social media. Either way, your brain is active and alert and when you then close your eyes a few seconds later you may find you have difficulty switching off from your thinking.

Anyway, I suggested to my client that she either leave her phone outside the bedroom or turn off wi-fi at night to avoid any of these distractions keeping her awake. Her face filled with horror and anxiety at even the thought of this! After we discussed it some more I'm pleased to say that she agreed to implement this and it can only benefit the quality and quantity of her sleep.

And recent research suggests that smartphone addiction does indeed trigger effects such anxiety, depression and drowsiness.

The study, conducted by Hyung Suk Seo, M.D., Professor of Neuroradiology at Korea University, took 19 young people diagnosed with internet or smartphone addiction and compared them to 19 gender and age matched controls. Researchers used standardised internet and smartphone addiction tests to measure the severity of internet addiction. Questions focused on the extent to which internet and smartphone use affects daily routines, social life, productivity, sleeping patterns and feelings. The addicted teenagers were found to have significantly higher scores in depression, anxiety, insomnia severity and impulsivity.

Of course, this is quite a small study group and more research will be needed, yet it tends to fit with their experiences that my clients describe to me.

Better news is that some of the addicted people went through cognitive behavioural therapy after which things improved or normalised for them. And as we know from other research, combining CBT with hypnosis tends to lead to much improved treatment outcomes.

Based on these findings, you may want to start to review your smartphone and internet usage and the amount of time you are spending on each. Have a dedicated period of the day where you don't go online or check your phone, and you can turn off notifications and unfollow or avoid checking out things online that tend to amplify any feelings of anxiety or depression. 

Recently, I deleted Facebook and Twitter off my smartphone because I found I was wasting far too much time scrolling through it just for the sake of it.  I can honestly say that I feel better for spending less time on them. Sure I still check them but I now have to do that on my tablet or laptop and I don't carry these around with me when I'm out and about.

And of course, if you're anything like my sleep client above then you may want to start switching off your phone a while before you go to bed and creating an environment where you are more likely to feel mentally calmer and physically relaxed.

To your success

Dan Regan

Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

 

Could smartphone addiction and internet addiction be contributing to your anxiety and depression? If so, then you may want to take a look at these pages:

1. For help with anxiety, depression and addiction, book your complimentary strategy session and lets have a chat about how things can be improved for you:

Hypnotherapy with Dan Regan

2. Want an audio programme that will help you overcome anxiety and develop more confidence?

Anxiety No More

3. Wondering what other people have said after working with me to overcome their anxiety, depression and addiction?

What People Say