Put away smartphones this week

Research suggests there are a lot of great reasons to let go of our smartphone dependence.

Alia Jeraj

I know of very few people these days who do not have their lives concentrated into a small screen they can carry around in their pockets.  
 
However, I recently had a conversation with a friend who told me about a new “game” he’s been playing: people-watching, but mentally removing their phones from the picture. 
 
“It’s depressing,” he said. “Everyone’s just looking down all the time.” 
 
It turns out this phenomenon is more than just a sad game my friend uses to entertain himself. When we bow our heads to look at our phones, the effective stress we place on our necks is equivalent to carrying about five gallons of paint. 
 
Psychology also backs my friend’s qualification of this posture as “depressing.” Our emotional state informs our posture: when we feel sad, scared or powerless, we slouch.
 
The opposite is also true; our posture can affect our emotional state. A recent study published in Health Psychology concluded that keeping an upright posture can help to maintain self-esteem and reduce negative moods and stress, whereas slumped postures tend to do the opposite.
 
I know we’re often hit with a barrage of opinions telling us to put down of phones and go explore the world. However, with finals coming up, maybe this new information will be the incentive some of us — myself included — need to stop constantly checking our phones and to help us stay mentally sound and feeling positive in the next week. 
 
So let’s all put down our phones, lift up our chins and try to stay positive — at least until finals are over.