Most of us look at our smartphones for around five hours per day – checking the gadgets
hundreds of times every day (and sometimes during the night).
Around 11% of people in Western countries are thought to suffer from some form of technology addiction, according to Professor Ofir Turel of California State University, Fullerton.
So what happens when you switch the thing off – and take a 15 minute ‘solitude’ break?
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Researchers from Rochester University asked volunteers to sit alone for 15 minutes – and get rid of their digital devices.
The researchers found that 15 minutes alone helps people to get rid of intense emotions – both positive and negative, according to the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest.
So ditching your phone (and other people) makes you less distressed and fearful, for instance, but also less interested and excited.
The researchers found that even taking a brief ‘device break’ daily was sufficient.
Christian Jarrett of the BPS Research Digest writes, ‘The week that the students spent time in solitude, they tended to show reduced high arousal positive and negative emotions. There was also an apparent deactivation spill-over into the second week for those who completed the solitude exercises in the first week.’