In the age when smart phones wield the power of Zeus, notifications play the role of Hermes to us common folk. Notifications surround us and tell us about everything that is going on around the world. A reply, like or message gets a notification and even the news gets separate notification through news apps. There are notifications for games, messages, social media and even the workout app if you are lazy enough.
Notifications and Mental Health
Notifications were interestingly found to have two opposite kinds of impact. Let me share a story to explain this to you more clearly.
You wake up one morning and check your phone. You realize that you left the Wi-Fi on and the phone had been filling up with all the notifications overnight. You wake up to 23 messages on Whatsapp from friends, comments on your Instagram upload and tens of likes on the Facebook post you shared.
How would you feel?
Most people would feel nice. I choose not to use ‘all’ because I know exceptions always exist but most people would feel nice to know that even in their sleep they were being talked about, looked at and liked. Actually, the sound that accompanies notifications and how they all go off together in the morning is something that has a positive effect on most people. The next notification goes off before the last one is done and this leads to energizing of the individual.
One would this think that notifications mostly have a positive effect on people. More notifications, more gratification and better mood. The reality is a different story,
Notifications may be bad
I’ll share another story to drive this point home as well.
Imagine you just got back home from work. It was a tiring day and now you just want good food and some time to yourself. Most of your friends are in corporate jobs as well and very few talk to you over text. You are exhausted and suddenly your phone lights up in action. You have a message from your boss. He wants you to create another excel sheet or prepare for a meeting that should actually have been an email. You feel deflated.
Studies have shown that people who work in the corporate sector react negatively to notifications on their phone. A notification is linked with increased anxiety and blood pressure. It is not as much the fault of the notification, as of the message it brings along but people have been conditioned to this over time. The same actually goes with doctors who work in corporate hospitals as well. They tend to switch their phone off once work is done to avoid any more work related queries.
Notifications play a dual role in our life. Some pull us toward the world of internet and some push us into action in the real world. We have gotten so used to them that not many actually notice the effect that they have but then again, we rarely pay attention to things we are used to. Next time you get a notification, stop for a while and think, what did this make me feel?