I’m a doctor and these 3 ways you’re using your phone are negatively impacting your health

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Dr Aditi Nerurkar, from Boston, Massachusetts, warned of three ways using your phone is 'killing your brain' and what to do if you 'don't want to live a stressful life'

A doctor has warned of three ways using your phone is ‘killing your brain’ and what to do if you ‘don’t want to live a stressful life’.

Harvard stress expert Dr Aditi Nerurkar, from Boston, Massachusetts, explained the negative effects our mobile phones are having on our brains while speaking to podcast host Steven Bartlett on an episode of his show, The Diary of a CEO.

She explained that excessive use of high-brightness phone screens and exposure to graphic content can contribute to stress, anxiety and depression.

The doctor also stressed that creating ‘digital boundaries’ with our phones is ‘essential for our mental health and well-being’.

Here, FEMAIL reveals the three phone habits Dr Nerurkar mentioned that are negatively impacting our daily lives.

Dr Aditi Nerurkar, from Boston, Massachusetts, warned of three ways using your phone is ‘killing your brain’ and what to do if you ‘don’t want to live a stressful life’

Late-night scrolling

The specialist discussed how constant mobile phone use can negatively impact mental health through a phenomenon known as ‘popcorn brain’. 

This occurs when the user struggles to disconnect from the continuous flow of online information.

She claimed that our desire to scroll on our phones is a ‘primal urge’ to scan for danger which comes from a feeling of being stressed. 

She explained: ‘In recent times there’s been a lot of bad news. In fact it feels like the onslaught of bad news, one thing after another, whether it’s a climate disaster or a conflict in a certain part of the world or something or the other is always happening now. 

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‘The information stream is rapid and unprecedented, and so we are constantly scrolling and scanning for danger.

‘When we were all cave people, there was a night watch person. That person would sit by the fire while the tribe would sleep and that person would scan for danger to keep the tribe safe.

‘In modern times, we have all become that night watch person and we scroll incessantly when we feel a sense of stress because it is our primal urge. 

‘It is the way our amygdala (parts of the brain responsible for processing emotional stimuli) feels a sense of safety because we are scanning for danger. 

‘But we are no longer in a tribe, we’re not cave people anymore. So what do we do? We scroll, that is how we are scanning for danger, especially when we are feeling stressed.’

She explained the negative effects our mobile phones are having on our brains while speaking to podcast host Steven Bartlett (pictured) on a recent episode of his show, The Diary of a CEO

She explained the negative effects our mobile phones are having on our brains while speaking to podcast host Steven Bartlett (pictured) on a recent episode of his show, The Diary of a CEO

Checking your phone frequently 

Dr Nerurkar urged people to stop checking their phones immediately upon waking up, as this is leading to increased stress and mobile phone dependency making stress even worse.

She said: ‘Most of us check our phones 2,600 times a day, that is a statistic… When you wake up, before your second eye is even open, you are scrolling. 

‘Studies show that 62 per cent of people check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up and about 50 per cent check them in the middle of the night. I’m guilty of this,’ she said. 

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Dr Nerurkar recommends limiting your phone usage to 20 minutes a day, ‘and set a timer if you have to for engaging and consuming.’ 

Consuming traumatic content

The doctor said consuming traumatic content on social media can lead to emotional distress, PTSD, and indirect trauma, especially for those working in journalism.

She explained: ‘Graphic images and videos on your phone can increase your risk of PTSD and mental health conditions, as it triggers the fight or flight response and can lead to indirect trauma.

‘Studies that your risk of PTSD increases when you consume graphic images, even if that thing that you’re consuming is happening thousands of miles away, like any conflict, any climate disaster, anything.  

‘If you start consuming graphic images and videos you increase your risk of PTSD, even though you have not had any direct trauma because it’s indirect trauma that you’re seeing.

‘And so it’s a cycle. The more videos you consume or the more graphic content you consume, your amygdala gets fired up, your primal urge to scroll starts going haywire, and then you scroll some more, and then you scroll some more, because you don’t feel safe. This is a common occurrence.’ 

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Source: tit.edu.vn

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