You may be surprised to hear that muting your phone may actually cause more stress than if you leave it on.
It’s no secret that our phones have become an extension of ourselves. We use them to stay connected with friends and family, access information, and entertain ourselves. But did you know that there are people who mute their phones to disconnect from the world?
New research shows that people who mute their phones often have increased feelings of stress.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons behind this phenomenon and offer some tips for how to reduce stress levels.
A new study from Penn State University has found that people with FOMO (fear of missing out) may use their phone even more if they don’t hear any ‘buzzing’ or notifications from their phone when it is muted. There are many times when people silence their phones, including when getting ready to sleep, when in the office, or when at the dinner table.
The study included 138 iPhone users. 42% chose vibration-only mode; 8.7% were on silent mode, and the rest kept their ringers on for four straight days. Before the study began, all participants were required to complete a Screen Time tool on their phones to see if they had FOMO.
It was found that those who muted their phones had the highest time on social media and checked their phone more often than participants who did not silence their phones. It was noted that those who silenced their phones also had increased feelings of stress.
Researchers suggest that individuals with FOMO could customize their notifications settings and selectively disable some notifications instead of entirely muting everything. For example, notifications from friends and family could be enabled to relieve some anxiety.
“We hope our study could inspire more personalized design for notifications or better design for notifications that could improve users’ experience of mobile phones, in addition to a simple, do not disturb function for everyone,” said study author Mengqi Liao.
FOMO is an issue found predominantly in young patients, teens and youth, but many people struggle with being tied to their phones. This study helps to outline some simple ways to help reduce the amount of time spent on them.
Breaking the habit of checking the phone and overcoming FOMO won’t happen overnight, but with some simple changes, it is possible. By taking small steps, you can help reduce the stress associated with screen time. Start by muting some notifications, so you only get half of what is happening. Finding a new interest or hobby can also help fill the time usually spent on a phone.
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