Science Says Turn Off All Those Phone Notifications Immediately
Many of us know that the more time we spend on our smartphones, the more stressed out we feel. And while this self-awareness is an important first step, it often leaves us feeling even more helpless because we just watch ourselves fall into this rabbit hole time and time again rather than learning how to avoid it. Well, science is here to save the day (as always) with one simple answer: disable all notifications.
A study from Carnegie Mellon University and Telefonica suggests that using your smartphone sans notifications for a mere 24-hour period can noticeably improve your concentration, as well as reduce your stress levels.
Back in 2015, the researchers originally set out to find a group of participants who would voluntarily disable all phone notifications for a week-long study, but apparently, no one was willing to do that. (How sad.) So, they adjusted their expectations and tried again to recruit participants who would be willing to turn off all of their phone notifications for 24 hours and ended up with a pool of 30 people. This group proceeded to complete the “Do Not Disturb Challenge” for a day, and then the researchers surveyed them on how they felt afterward and, two years later, observed whether their behavior toward phone notifications changed at all.
While some of the participants did feel anxious about missing messages during the 24-hour period, on the whole, the group saw an improvement in concentration ability and a reduction in overall stress levels. The day after the experiment ended, 22 of the 30 individuals told the researchers that this brief experience made them want to rethink how much of a pull their phones have on them in their everyday lives. Two years later, 13 of them had followed through on that desire and even reduced the number of push notifications they allowed their phones to send them.
This study was definitely limited by its size, but that doesn’t make it any less important. In 2015 the average person received approximately 64 phone notifications per day, so just imagine how much that number likely increased over the past two years and how much it impacts us today. You might just think of it as a chirp here and a chirp there, but all of that phone noise adds up — and in a substantial way.