The three types of phone notifications that make us feel nervous

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  • Relatable.

    We’re inundated with smartphone notifications every day. Hands up if you’ve received a work email out of hours and then spent the whole evening stressing about it? How many times have you declined when that dreaded iOS update message pops up? And let’s not get started on the myriad of WiFi related frustrations.

    Research published in The Telegraph shows that a third of notifications we get on our smartphones have a negative impact on our mood. It revealed that there are three particular types that leave us feeling nervous, hostile and upset.

    Can you guess what they are?

    Apparently, we’re affected by any non-human activity such as work-related notifications, WiFi availability alerts and general phone updates. All very relatable.

    A study carried out at Nottingham Trent University asked fifty participants to download a specially-developed app, NotiMind, which monitored all of their notifications and collected details of the alerts over a five-week period. Between them, they received half a million notifications. They were also asked to log their reactions to the notifications throughout the day, allowing researchers to find a link between the number of smartphone alerts and the participants moods.

    The research claims that ‘out of more than half a million notifications… 32 per cent resulted in negative emotions, triggering users to feel hostile, upset, nervous, afraid or ashamed.’ It also found that our phones make us pretty unhappy in general. However, when participants received messages from friends it ‘created a sense of belonging and feelings of connection to a social group.’

    Researcher Dr Eiman Kanjo said: ‘These digital alerts continuously disrupt our activities through instant calls for attention.

    ‘While notifications enhance the convenience of our life, we need to better-understand the impact their obsessive use has on our well-being.

    ‘It is clear that social notifications make people happy, but when they receive lots of work-related and or non-human notifications, the opposite effect occurs.’

    Might be time to update our notification settings…

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