Putting Your Phone Down Might Mean a Longer, Less Stressful Life

Too much screen time is linked to elevated stress levels

Put the phone down
Family income level has been linked to screen time in children. (Getty)
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As the amount of time we spend glued to our phone screens increases, so too does the stress hormone cortisol — which has a threatening and long-lasting effect on our health.

While we already know that there are plenty of reasons to give it a break with our phones — too much time spent on them interferes with sleep, self-esteem, relationships, memory, attention spans, creativity, productivity, problem-solving and decision-making skills — new evidence proves that phone time is linked to rising levels of cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, which is a known life-shortener, the New York Times reported.

“Mobile devices loaded with social media, email and news apps [create] a constant sense of obligation, generating unintended personal stress,” a Google study found.

“Your cortisol levels are elevated when your phone is in sight or nearby, or when you hear it or even think you hear it,” David Greenfield, professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction confirmed to the Times. “It’s a stress response, and it feels unpleasant, and the body’s natural response is to want to check the phone to make the stress go away.”

Constantly checking your phone leads to chronically elevated cortisol levels — which have been tied to an increased risk of serious health problems, including depression, obesity, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, fertility issues, high blood pressure, heart attack, dementia and stroke.

“Every chronic disease we know of is exacerbated by stress,” said Dr. Robert Lustig, emeritus professor in pediatric endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of The Hacking of the American Mind. “And our phones are absolutely contributing to this.”

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