What’s one simple way to enhance well-being?

Research says power down to thrive on. UK Health Coach Amy Rodquist-Kodet offers a two-minute tip about paying attention to smartphone usage in this video.

Below are tips and research referenced in the video.

Two new studies support your sense that you will be happier (and less stressed) if you check your phone less often. A study of college students at Kent State University found that people who check their phones frequently tend to experience higher levels of distress during their leisure time (when they intend to relax!).  

In another study, Elizabeth Dunn and Kostadin Kushlev regulated how frequently participants checked their email throughout the day. Those aiming to reduce their email checking to only three times a day (vs. an average of 15 times) were less tense and less stressed overall. 

Researcher and sociologist Dr. Christine Carter has created an action plan for checking email, social media and messages on your phone just a few times a day – intentionally, not impulsively. Here’s Dr. Carter’s plan to lower your stress and tension and put you back in the driver’s seat – not your smartphone:

1. Make a strategic decision about when you will check your email and messages.

“I check my email quickly before work to delete or unsubscribe from junk and respond to anything urgent. I respond to everything else in my work email at 3 p.m. and my home email at 7:45 p.m. I actually block this time out on my calendar as a recurring task, and then move it around as necessary – that way I check strategically, not impulsively.”

2. Tell your family and colleagues that you are establishing a strategic checking schedule.

“Worried that people will see you as unresponsive or slacking at work? Leslie Perlow’s research indicates otherwise; in fact, your colleagues will likely notice your increased productivity and see you as more collaborative, efficient and effective when you reduce constant phone and email monitoring.”

3. Remove distractions.

“Set your mobile devices to automatically go into sleep mode an hour before you go to bed until your first pre-determined checking time. Consider removing email from your phone, or at least moving it to a back “page” of apps, so that you don’t see it if you are turning off your alarm or using another app.

I think of this as hiding the Halloween candy: If you wanted to eat less candy, you wouldn’t put a bowl of it on your bedside table, bathroom counter, kitchen table, dashboard and desk at work – right? So don’t do that with the slot machine that is your smartphone. While you are on your computer working (or in the car driving), keep your email program closed. Turn all notifications off. Put your phone in sleep mode. This may seem drastic, but trust me. Your life is about to get way better.”

4. Focus on other things.

“Now, do your most important work or something that brings you peace or joy. Replace checking your smartphone constantly with something better. I set reminders for two-minute relaxation breaks three times a day, when I take a dozen deep breaths (breathing in for 5 seconds, and out for 5 seconds). This triggers our vagus nerve, inducing a feeling of calm, and reversing the ill-effects of stress.”

5. Savor the benefits of this effort. You will likely start sleeping better.

“You’ll be more focused, productive and efficient at work. You’ll have a heck of a lot more time to do the things that really matter in your life, things that bring lasting happiness. But none of those benefits really matters unless you take the time to enjoy them. Studies by Fred Bryant suggest that by consciously and deliberately savoring positive events in our life, we can increase the amount of happiness we derive from them in the short and long run. So enjoy being less stressed and less tense – relish your new life.”

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