Smartphone Notifications Mess Brian’s Chemistry

Scientists are pretty much confident that smartphone use can be obsessive. When your screen blinks, it is hard to not immediately check who is contacting you, or which media organization has sent you some alarming or latest news.

Every time our smartphone beeps with a new alert or notification or something like that, it is changing the chemistry inside our brain, the scientists are warning about it.

Constant interruptions such as Arrival of new emails, text messages, or social media comments trigger high levels of ‘stress hormone’ which is called cortisol in our body which can have pretty much damaging effects.

There is a phenomenon which is called “switch cost” that occurs whenever there is an interruption, such as notification or an alert we switch away from the task, that we are working on and then we have to return back which is costly in terms of brain power as well as time also.

We think it interrupts our efficiency with our brains by about 40 percent, said Steve Bea Psychologist at Cleveland Clinic.

The key here is to reduce the level of arousal these notifications or alerts can cause or raise. This will reduce the amount of cortisol released by the brain, which in turn reduces the level of anxiety and stress especially when a notification or alert is missed or escaped.

To change your brain chemistry, you need to create a new habit, Dr. Bea teaches. Initially, when you start trying to stay away from the technology or confine it, you will feel a little uncomfortable or you will have that fear of missing out or a little anxiety that something’s getting past against you but, with time and practice, your brain will get used to it, said Dr. Bea.

When cortisol is released into the body because of a smartphone notification or alert, this tensed state can continue until the person is able to check the notification or alert, Dr. Bea cautions. Staring at a screen for long hours also messes with our biology and makes it harder for us to sleep at night as it inhibits the release of melatonin the sleep hormone.

It is difficult to get away from your phone but it can be done with a little patience. After a while, your brain will stop trying to convince you that you are missing out on something, and you will be better able to get through the day without constantly checking the phone on every alert.


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