(Psychology Today) A new study published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking has found that being constantly online and on your phone can make you feel worse. Researchers found that checking your phone decreased mindfulness and caused people to be preoccupied and more distracted.
Being plugged into your smartphone creates a state of “online vigilance” where one’s mind is automatically monitoring communications like email, texts, or phone notifications. This state of constant alertness does not give your mind a time to rest and focused on what happened in the past or future– in other words, the opposite of mindfulness or training the mind to focus on being aware of the present moment.
The study found that people who spent more time checking their smartphones and being connected online were less mindful and more easily distracted either by past texts or emails or the anticipation of future communications. Mindfulness was particularly low in people who were automatically monitoring or texting on their phones without being aware of what they were feeling or thinking.