It isn’t surprising that technology and cell phones cause anxiety. You have probably felt it – when the phone bleeps, pings, rings, all the different sounds for all the different apps constantly creating an alert in your brain.
Even when there is no sound coming from the phone, there is the on-going possibility that there will be.
The problem is not that technology exists, it is that we are using it 24/7.
More than that, we are using it for work 24/7 and for social 24/7 so we are constantly playing at least two roles in how we use technology blurring into one big stress time bomb.
As well as the obvious impact mentioned above, technology has significant subtle impacts on your anxiety.
Avoidance. Guess what? As humans we like to avoid pain, literally, it is part of our programming to avoid pain. Avoiding pain literally kept us alive for tens of thousands of years, your brain wants to keep you alive, so it wants to avoid pain. So when we face potential discomfort we tend to overeat, overspend, overwork… and now, thanks to technology, overswipe/scroll/stare as we walk around with a permanent distraction in our pocket.
In the short term this is great, avoid the awkward situation, the social anxiety, have something to do, block out the negativity.
Discomfort leads to growth, life is full of positive and negative for everyone.
Avoiding does not get rid of the discomfort it actually feeds it, and it remains there, in the background, feeling more uncomfortable, spreading to other parts of your life and other situations so before you know it you are watching Netflix to avoid feeling guilty about spending too much time on your phone.
Can you see what is happening? It perpetuates and expands.
Sleep. Technology is impacting your sleep. If you are already struggling to sleep due to existing anxiety, this is again perpetuating your poor sleeping habits. Whether it is because of the potential ping at any time, or our reliance on watching something to avoid our own thoughts as we lie in bed… More than this, poor sleep leaves you less energy to cope with your anxiety in your day, so in this sense technology is a double edged sword.
Tech dependency. Panic. Phone battery low. How will I find my way to x, order an uber, decide where to get my coffee, and I absolutely can’t walk without listening to music… Reliance on technology and smartphones to do so much in our lives mean low phone battery, potential lost phone and poor cell reception can lead to anxiety attacks.
Airplane mode. Here’s a secret – it doesn’t have to just be for when you are on an airplane! P.s. now there is wifi on airplanes there is no escape! Create your own!