Avoiding a smartphone relieves stress and promotes psychological recovery

Avoiding a smartphone relieves stress and promotes psychological recovery

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Investigation of the connection between smartphone breaks and relaxation

Mobile phones and smartphones have become an indispensable everyday companion for many people. Especially for a large part of the younger population, life without the small devices is hardly imaginable these days. A smartphone waiver is anything but easy for most people. Such deliberate breaks have a positive effect on our mental recovery.

The smartphone is a constant companion both in private and at work. Many people complain about permanent accessibility, distraction or difficulty concentrating. A study by the private business school International School of Management (ISM) has now shown that conscious breaks from smartphones have a positive effect on our mental recovery. According to the experts, the need for the smartphone decreases during regular breaks, switching off from work works better and it is easier for us to regenerate.

Many find it difficult to differentiate themselves from work in their free time

Many people have gained flexibility in everyday work through digital technologies and can also work in the home office instead of the office, check e-mails on the way to the office or quickly give their colleagues feedback in the evening. But because information and communication are permanently accessible, it is difficult for many people to differentiate themselves from work in their free time. However, this delimitation is an important part of mental health.

In her thesis, the student Cassandra Zinn from ISM Hamburg carried out a diary study in which the positive effects of conscious time-out from a smartphone were examined for the first time. The study participants consciously avoided using their devices for a period of ten days and answered daily questions about their subjective condition.

According to the ISM, the results are clear: the demand for the smartphone decreased over the study period. The longer the device was dispensed with, the stronger the effect.

"We were also able to establish a clear connection between the desire for the smartphone and daily relaxation," said Cassandra Zinn, who studied business psychology at the ISM Hamburg. "The weaker the desire for the smartphone, the better our study participants recovered." Those who do without the smartphone for a longer period of time experience less feeling of dependence and experience relaxation more intensely.

A feeling of relaxation and control is encouraged

According to the private business school, the study not only gives empirical evidence that taking a break from a smartphone makes it easier to switch off mentally and promotes a feeling of relaxation and control. The two authors of the article "Switching off - reducing psychological stress through conscious smartphone breaks" also conclude that the targeted establishment of smartphone-free zones in companies, schools or universities can have a positive effect on users.

“On the one hand, many people complain that they spend too much time on their smartphones and are under pressure to answer. On the other hand, they find it very difficult to put the smartphone aside and take the breaks that are necessary for regeneration, ”says Prof. Dr. Ute Rademacher. The study was first published in the journal "Wirtschaftspsychologie" (1 / 2-2019).

Digital fasting

Other experts also advise smartphone timeouts. Andrea Jakob-Pannier, psychologist at Barmer Krankenkasse, recommends developing a personal strategy for digital fasting with changes in everyday life. This included breaks in which the smartphone and the Internet were deliberately ignored. Switching on flight mode is one possibility.

No professional emails should be answered in your free time. Digital stress can be avoided if the smartphone does not set the pace. It helps to block apps from push notifications and ban mobile phones from the dining table or from the bedroom for a good night's sleep. "You should be aware of how much time the smartphone costs, and use this time at least in part analogue again," said Jakob-Pannier in a message. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • International School of Management (ISM): Better regeneration by taking a break from your smartphone, (accessed: August 27, 2019), International School of Management (ISM)
  • Barmer: Digital fasting: avoiding smartphones and the like, (available: August 27, 2019), Barmer

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