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A doctor has raised concerns about the detrimental impact of smartphone habits on mental health, emphasizing that certain practices may contribute to a “stressful life.” Dr. Aditi Nerurkar highlighted three common phone habits that could negatively affect well-being and exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety.

  1. Late-night scrolling: Dr. Nerurkar discouraged late-night scrolling on smartphones, attributing it to a primal urge to scan for danger. She pointed out that the constant influx of bad news, ranging from climate disasters to conflicts worldwide, has intensified the need to stay connected. To mitigate this, she recommended putting the phone down before bedtime, engaging in relaxing activities, and avoiding prolonged exposure to distressing news.
  2. Excessive phone checking: The doctor noted the widespread tendency to check phones excessively, with an average of 2,600 daily checks. Checking the phone upon waking up and before bedtime contributes to mobile phone dependency and heightened stress levels. Dr. Nerurkar suggested limiting phone usage to 20 minutes a day, setting timers for engagement, and avoiding habitual checking, especially during the night.
  3. Consuming traumatic content: Social media platforms often feature distressing content, such as conflicts, climate disasters, and confrontational videos. Dr. Nerurkar warned that exposure to graphic images and videos on phones can increase the risk of PTSD and mental health conditions. The continuous consumption of traumatic content triggers the fight or flight response, leading to a cycle of heightened stress and an increased urge to keep scrolling.

In an episode of the Diary of a CEO podcast with Steven Bartlett, Dr. Nerurkar emphasized the need to be mindful of these habits for better mental well-being. The overarching message is to strike a balance in phone usage, set boundaries, and prioritize mental health by engaging in activities that promote relaxation and detachment from constant digital stimuli. The doctor’s insights serve as a reminder for individuals to be conscious of their smartphone behaviors and adopt healthier practices to alleviate stress.

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