Mobile Phones and Our Mental Hygiene: Finding The Balance 211

Mobile Phones and Our Mental Hygiene: Finding The Balance

This is a guest post by Hannah Hutchinson, a freelance blogger currently working for the UK-based HandsetExpert.

Mobile phones are everywhere. Not having one is the exception and no longer the norm.

For the most part, this is a good thing. It enables us to keep in touch with our friends and loved ones wherever we’re at. A mobile phone is also a lifesaver in emergencies.

Nevertheless, as convenient as a mobile phone is, our addiction to them may have an effect on our mental hygiene. Are these nifty electric devices harming us more than it’s helping?

Can Phone Overuse Hurt Our Mental Health?

It’s a known fact that phone overuse can have negative physical impacts. It can, for example, hurt eyesight. It also causes a condition known as “text neck,” in which you suffer neck pain due to always tilting your head down to stare at a mobile screen.

However, the research regarding mobile phones and mental health are fewer. They do exist, though, with more researchers chiming in with their own expertise and input.

One such study in 2016, titled “Computers in Human Behavior,” revealed that excessive phone use may be linked to symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. The study consisted of 308 volunteers who answered a series of questions regarding their mental health as well as general phone use behavior (e.g. how often they use it, what they use it for, etc.).

The findings? High phone usage had a strong correlation to depression and bouts of anxiety. Researchers speculate that this was likely due to an endemic known as “Fear of Missing Out,” or FOMO. Since the bulk of social interactions are done over the phone and online, people tend to feel like they’re missing out if they don’t jump in the fray.

Cell phones even made the list of addictive substances in the 5th edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The manual states that users may undergo a withdrawal phase if separated from their phones for a prolonged period.

In another study from the University of Derby, it found that participants spent an average 3.6 hours a day on their phones, with 13% of the subjects listed as “addicted” to their devices. The study also found a link between excessive phone use and narcissism and neuroticism.

Finding the Right Balance

Does a Minimalist Lifestyle Decrease Your Stress Levels?

Should you immediately cancel your phone carrier and smash your phone with a hammer? No, you do not need to go to that extreme, nor do you need to drastically limit your phone use to just emergency use.

We do, after all, live in a digital world where not having a mobile device makes it rather difficult to get by without one. Rest assured that continued mobile phone use will not put you in a downward spiral path of depression as long as your eyes aren’t glued to your phone screen 24/7.

We do, however, recommend putting your phone down if you suspect you’re a borderline phone-addict. Here are some ways to help you spend more time in the real world and away from the digital world taking place behind a screen.

1. Turning Off Notifications.

There’s nothing wrong with checking phone notifications. The problem, though, is that checking a single notification alert often turns into half an hour of mindless browsing, texting, or playing games.

Unless you’re expecting an important call, turn notifications off.

2. Establish a Phone-Free Time.

Does the phone really need to be within arm’s reach at the dinner table? When was the last time you actually read a hardback book instead of an e-book?

Establish a timeframe each day where you put your phone away. This may include meal times, an hour before bed, etc. This is also a good ritual to do with your kids to ensure they don’t fall into the phone addiction trap.

3. Take Regular Phone Breaks.

Unless it’s an important or work-related purpose, establish a limited timeframe for phone use. Perhaps set a limit of a 15-minute break for every 30-minutes of non-essential phone use.

Decrease the phone use time and increase break time as you become accustomed to not using your phone so much. If you’re old enough to remember the days before cell phones, you’ll realize that you got by perfectly fine without them at one point.

There is nothing inherently wrong with mobile phone use as long as you don’t become too fixated on your miniature portable device. As a phone deal service, Handset Expert wishes for everyone to use their phones often but responsibly and never to the point of addiction.

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The Importance of Exercise to Your Professional Success 4

The Importance of Exercise to Your Professional Success

In today’s world, most jobs are demanding both physically and mentally. Competition is not always based on the best resume, education, or experience. Having the upper hand in your profession is most likely linked to your ability to think quickly, act appropriately, and carry out difficult duties with the utmost quality.

You need to be able to bring something new, different, and maybe even better to the table. So, how can you get the edge? How can you maximize your professional potential and output?

Believe it or not, the answer to that question might be found outside the workplace. It may be what you do when you are not at work that makes the difference in your work. What is it? EXERCISE, that’s what!

Replace Some Screen Time or Other Time Wasters.

Everyone needs to take a break from the workday. Television, gaming, social media, and video-viewing are what we often go to for this.

Try replacing some of your downtime with exercise, or trying exercising while you are in front of the screen. Exercising instead of sitting will not only help relieve some stress from your day but also help release some built up tension so you can actually rest better at night, helping you be better prepared for the next work day.

Exercising a few hours before bedtime elevates your body temperature. When your body temperature returns to normal, your brain and body are ready to sleep.

Exercise Sharpens Your Thinking.

It is a fact that as we age, our cognitive abilities decline.

While researchers may not have found the cure for dementia-related disorders, they do know that exercise helps delay onset or slow down its progression. Exercising during the years of 25 – 45 can boost the brain chemicals that prevent shrinking of the brain. It has also been shown to create new brain cells and increase proteins found in the brain that help keep thinking skills sharp.

Exercise Reduces Sick Time.

Exercise improves general health functioning and helps build your immunity to illnesses.

It has also been shown to increase our ability to think and work under stress, rather than giving in to the stress and being more susceptible to illness.

This keeps you reporting to work on a regular basis, and taking less sick days. The more you are at work, the more productive you are, and the more your employer values you.

Working Out Increases Your Stamina.

Long work days can leave you drained and listless. If you know you are facing long meetings, strenuous work sessions, or overtime for increased production demands, you can prepare to meet these challenges head-on.

As you exercise, over time your stamina will be able to withstand longer and more strenuous workouts. It also translates into helping you stay sharp during those long, arduous workdays.

Yes, How You Look Does Count.

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While it may never be mentioned, your appearance is noticed by employers, co-workers, interviewers, etc. You do not necessarily need to look like a buff bodybuilder, but having a svelte, strong appearance is a benefit.

Other’s first perception of you is of great importance. Think about interviewing prospective employees. Honestly consider the impact of their first impression on their employment outlook. Healthy looking is definitely a check in the “yes” column.

Energy levels are also higher when you are exercising regularly, and your energy is part of how you are perceived overall. When you start to feel better about yourself, you begin to present a more positive image to your coworkers.

It Boosts Your Confidence.

When you have conquered a goal in your exercise plan, like being able to run an entire mile instead of having to stop and walk some, you know you have accomplished something. You are on your way to bigger and better goals.

There may have been times along the way that you felt like that milestone would never come, but here it is. You feel proud and motivated to keep working toward your next goal. You see the fruits of your labor. You are energized and begin to feel better about yourself overall.

You begin to feel a sense of accomplishment that does not leave when you exit the gym doors. You carry that as a boost in your confidence as you go into work.

Bring the Habits of Exercise to Work.

What else do you learn through exercise? Goal setting, resilience, perseverance, learning new things, taking chances, organizing and managing your time, just to name a few. These are great skills to boost your performance at work, too.

You begin to realize that you can take what you have learned through setting up and sticking with an exercise plan to the workplace. You can use all these skills in your career. As you do, you will become more confident and thus, more effective in your daily tasks.

All of these are learned by starting, committing to, and following through with a fitness plan, and can become more of a life plan.

If you are looking for a job, being physically fit might not get you the job, but it will definitely help your chances. Your first impression is incredibly important, so do not brush off exercise and fitness lightly.

Exercise has so many benefits like sharpening thinking, building stamina, increasing energy, reducing negative effects of stress, building immunity, and boosting self-confidence. This can really help you in your professional success.

The benefits extend beyond your exercise time.

They stay with you day in and day out. If you are not currently exercising regularly, just start today, doing something small. Some sit-ups in front of the television, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, cleaning up your diet, or increasing your walking pace as you move around the office are good ways to get started. You will feel the benefits, even with these small steps.