If you’ve got an internet connection, you might be familiar with the dreaded feeling of digital stress: full inboxes, all those marketing emails, notifications fighting for your attention and falling asleep with your phone in your hand: we’ve all been there.

Digital Stress

Maybe you’re at the point where you’ve had enough of the digital rat race, and you’re ready to change it. That’s great! If you are not sure yet, we’ve made a list of 9 things that lead to digital stress. Some of them might ring a bell, but there are a few sneaky habits in this list you might not even be aware of. Some of our points will blow your mind and make you rethink your smartphone habits!

1. Making a mess of your inbox

We all dread that moment when we see how many unread messages we have. Especially if you have multiple mailboxes to work through. Having so many unfinished tasks doesn’t feel very relaxing. This is why a messy inbox can make you feel out of control of your digital life.


2. Not unsubscribing from marketing emails and newsletters

What if you would walk into your hallway every morning to find a massive pile of newsletters and marketing brochures on your doormat? Doesn’t sound very appealing, does it?

Yet, that is what we encounter every single time we open our mailboxes. The idea of having to keep up with this steady stream of email can cause you digital stress.


3. Enabling notifications

Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Instagram, Pinterest, your news apps: they all send out notifications during the day. You might not realize the impact of these notifications, and that’s why we rounded up some facts for you:

  • US smartphone users receive an average of 49.5 notifications a day
  • Since 2015 the average number of push notifications per app is 51 per month
  • It’s estimated that around 41% of people enable notifications on their smartphones
  • 52% of app users find push notifications annoying
  • One study found push notifications to be as distracting as phone calls


All these interruptions can cause you to feel restless and distracted, and psychologists even call constant notifications ‘a toxic form of stress.’


4. Constantly touching your phone

Have you ever caught yourself carrying your smartphone around like it’s attached to your hand? We touch our phones over 2617 times a day! If you have the questionable honor of belonging to the 10% extreme smartphone users, you even touch your phone a whopping 5400 times a day.

smartphone addiction
Source: Businessinsider.com


5. Sleeping with your phone

What’s the last thing you do before you close your eyes or the first thing after you wake up? If it is reaching for your phone, you are not alone. 42% of US smartphone users use their phone 5 minutes after waking up, and 35% uses their phone 5 minutes before falling asleep [1].

Using your smartphone before you go to sleep messes with your sleep quality and makes it harder for you to fall asleep [2]. Immediately reaching for your phone in the morning isn’t a great idea either. Bombarding your brain with emails, notifications, the news, and cute kitten videos after you wake up guarantees a restless morning and will definitely cause you digital stress.


6. Taking your phone everywhere

The benefits of our smartphones are amazing! We can contact everyone, everywhere. Our phone can tell us how to drive or walk somewhere, what our account balance is, or what the weather is going to be. No wonder we want to bring this tiny device everywhere!

The problem with taking your phone with you at all times is the feeling of stress this can cause. Sometimes it’s great not to be connected, to be in the moment and present.

7. Feeling guilty when you don’t answer your phone

Being connected 24/7 has its advantages but if you are like me, being connected all the time can make you feel restless and cause digital stress. What makes it even worse, is having the feeling that you have to be there for everyone, at all times.

I don’t know how it happened, but we all seem to expect that people reply to us immediately. And we feel obliged ourselves to return the favor. There even is a word for this: telepressure.

“Telepressure – the feeling of obligation to respond to messages quickly.”

In a study published in Stress and Health researchers found that college-aged students that reported feeling pressure to stay connected were more prone to feeling burned out and having less self-control, poor sleep habits and were lacking focus [3].


8. Being constantly on your phone when you are with friends or family

We all have that friend (or ARE that friend) who seems to live in their phone. If you meet with them, it always feels like there’s an invisible third person in the room, competing for attention.

Being addicted to your smartphone can take a toll on your relationships with your friends, spouse or kids. You might give your loved ones the idea that your smartphone is more important than their needs or that you find your smartphone more exciting than their company. This can put a lot of strain on your relationships.


9. Wasting so much time online that you don’t have enough time for important things

The dishes, your laundry, that project you want to help your son with; they are all still unfinished because you’re wasting time on your phone. Social media can suck us in and make us lose hours of our precious time. It seems difficult to control our use.

Daily time spent on social networking by internet users worldwide from 2012 to 2017 (in minutes). Source: Statista.com

The average use of social media worldwide is 130 minutes a day. That is more than 2 hours! What if you would use that time to do things that improve your wellbeing, relationships, and health? What would your life look like?

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