The sky is blue. Water is wet. Life is stressful. All three things are undoubtedly true. And, while we can’t change the first two, we can try to manage stress. Despite their near-constant alerts and presence, our phones can help with the effort. For example, if the phone rings and you want to know who is calling me from this uk number, you can quickly open its internet browser to put your mind at rest. Other stress-management techniques take more time and effort, but they’re worth it.
Why we need to tackle stress
Stress is not new, nor is it unique to certain people, age groups, or income brackets. Nearly thirty years ago, British alt-rock band Blur released “Modern Life is Rubbish”. Created after a tumultuous US tour and falling popularity in the UK, the album’s title reflected the stresses and strains of a band in “complete disarray”, according to writer David Cavanaugh.
Three decades later, many of us would agree with the album’s title, for good reason. We’ve experienced a once-in-a-century global pandemic, which is still ongoing, despite the wishful thinking of many politicians and members of the public. The war in Ukraine is devastating that country and threatening democracy and global stability. And supply chain issues, food insecurity, and inflation are all playing havoc on people’s well-being and finances.
With all this to contend with, it’s no wonder depression rates have soared, especially among young people and women. As the World Health Organisation reported, the pandemic alone has resulted in a 25% increase in anxiety and depression worldwide.
How your phone can help
Recognising stress and its effects is an important first step. If you experience an elevated heart rate, difficulty breathing, panic attacks, sleep disturbance, and other things, you may be suffering from it. While you may want to seek medical help, your phone can help you manage your stress long-term. Here are three quick, easy, and free ways to do that:
1. Put it away
The first, but probably hardest, thing to do is put the phone away for an extended period. Fear of missing out (or FOMO) is common, but the mental break can be a revelation, especially if you schedule the break daily or weekly.
2. Do not disturb
If that seems too hard, the next best step is to set quiet hours, using the Do Not Disturb function. By blocking notifications, and allowing only certain calls or text messages through, you can put your phone aside for a while knowing that you won’t miss anything important.
3. Use the timer and reminder functions
Breathing techniques are helpful for stress management, especially if done regularly. Unfortunately, our busy lives can get in the way, meaning that many people forget to do them. This is where your phone’s reminder and timer functions can help. Schedule a regular appointment with yourself to block out some time for breathing, then set the timer. Starting out with a few minutes and building up can help you feel centred, calm, and stress-free.