Being constantly connected is a basic fact of life for millennials: If you're a Gen Y-er, you probably carry around a mini-computer in your pocket at all times, text your friends in bed as you're falling asleep, and check your email within moments of waking in the morning. According to a recent survey by Wikia, roughly half of young people are actively connected at least 10 hours per day, and one in four are actively connected (checking email, texting, etc) within five minutes of waking up. So how is this 24/7 connectivity affecting your stress levels?
Chances are, your smartphone isn't making you any less stressed -- and in fact, a codependent relationship with your iPhone could be contributing to anxiety in more ways than you realize. A 2011 study found that when young people unplugged from technology for just 24 hours, the vast majority reported experiencing physical and mental symptoms of distress. You may joke about being "addicted" to your phone, but unfortunately, the symptoms of technology addiction could really be adding stress to your life.
Here are six signs that your smartphone might be majorly stressing you out:
1. You Have To Respond... Immediately
If unanswered texts or emails get your heart rate going, there's a good chance that your smartphone is adding stress to your life rather than making it easier. Constantly interrupting what you're doing -- whether it's writing a college essay or spending some quality time with your friends -- to check your phone might be an indication that your behavior has become compulsive. When you start getting anxious about your inbox, take a moment to step back and remind yourself that it's probably not as urgent as it seems. Sleeping with your phone away from your bed and keeping it in your backpack instead of your pocket during class can also gradually help to lessen your urge to be constantly checking for new messages.
2. You Have Phantom Cellphone Syndrome
You could’ve sworn you felt your phone vibrating in your back pocket, but when you took it out, you saw that nothing had happened. Phantom cellphone vibration syndrome is a real sign of technology addiction -- and it's more common than you might think. A study conducted at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne found that a whopping 89 percent of undergrads had experienced feeling nonexistent cellphone vibrations.
3. You Have A Bad Case Of FOMO
Are you constantly thinking about what everyone else is doing and all the things you might be missing out on at any given moment? Does scrolling through party photos and enthusiastic weekend updates on your News Feed make you feel sad or anxious? Well, there's a name for that: FOMO. It's not uncommon for social media and smartphone users to experience a "fear of missing out" when they're unable to get to their phones or when they're getting updates about all the exciting things that everyone in their social network is doing. The best way to combat FOMO is to step back and say no sometimes, and just take sometime to do whatever you want -- not what other people are doing or telling you to do.
4. You're Not Paying Attention To Your Friends & Family
We've all be there -- you're having dinner with friends or family with your phone sitting next to your plate, and instead of ignoring it, you turn your attention away from the conversation to respond to a text. While there's nothing wrong with picking up important calls or excusing yourself to answer messages when necessary -- but if you make a habit of giving only half your attention to the people you're with while the other half is busy checking Twitter, it might be time to rethink your phone habits. To avoid damaging your relationships, make a resolution to give your full attention to whoever you're with in person and save the screen time for later.
5. You Feel Restless When You're Away From Your Phone
If you experience withdrawal when you can't check your phone or respond to messages, you might have a technology addiction. Studies have found that turning off their phones can induce physical and mental withdrawal symptoms similar to those exhibited by drug addicts. If you feel yourself becoming nervous and antsy when you're away from your phone, take note of those feelings and find a coping mechanism -- taking deep breaths, going for a walk or exercising could help you get past the anxiety.
6. Poor Performance In School
If you're having an increasingly difficult time focusing in class and eagerly await the ringing of the bell so that you can check your phone and return that unanswered text, an Internet or smartphone addiction could be partially to blame for low grades. If the lure of your phone is too powerful for you to concentrate on homework, try downloading an app that blocks social media activity and online distractions.
For more ideas on healthy ways to unplug and recharge, click here!
Tell us: Does your smartphone cause you anxiety? Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet @HuffPostTeen.
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