The Power of the Phone


Photo by Laura Beyer

Ah reader, the irony. The last time I wrote to you, it was gorgeous out and I was even tanning my blindingly white Minnesota skin. Now, we have been blessed with a week of 40 degree temperatures and rain. Rain, rain, go away.

Anyway, I stumbled upon another piece of news that I wanted to comment on with you, concerning something that seems extremely beneficial to anxiety sufferers and I could not be more excited about it.

As a teenager, I am constantly looking at my iPhone (pictured above). Like, constantly. Sometimes I worry it’s becoming an addiction. I don’t know if you know the feeling, but a typical day for me goes like this:

I’m tapping away at my computer, doing research or writing the billionth paper of the semester when I hit a little brain block. No matter, I pause to recollect my thoughts, and there it is.

My phone is just sitting next to me, taunting me, making my fingers move toward it. It’s saying, “Look at me, Laura. I’m so much more interesting than school work. Look at what you’re friends are doing…” and on and on like that.

Fumbling to stay on track, I steadfastly try to ignore the nuisance, but ultimately my concentration has been broken and I have to take a peek, maybe check my emails, send out a few text messages, whatever it is, it always feels good to pick up my phone.

Now, I hope I’m not the first person to admit that this is extremely shallow and definitely irritating. Why does an inanimate object hold such a weight over me?

And as my fingers are flying over my screen, I begin getting anxious about the pile of work I still have to go through. My little friend isn’t so helpful after all.

Now, there are tons of articles about how teens should not be using their phones as much as they are including this one from, and this one from the Washington Post with study credentials to back it up. Negative news on phones is just a Google search away.

Teens aren’t going to quit using their phones. Trust me, it’s just not going to happen. So imagine my glee when I find an article about a smartphone app that is proven in studies to reduce anxiety. Eureka! A positive use for my little friend.

This is extremely promising because, according to the article, 18% of the population suffers from anxiety, and less than 37% are getting treatment for it. This could be a low cost, widespread treatment for anxiety sufferers everywhere.

The app basically makes you follow a happy faced creature around the screen, carefully guiding it away from angry faced creatures. Sounds kind of silly right? Wrong. Science proves this can actually retrain the brain to focus on the positive, not only in the game, but in the world around you.

The article goes into further detail about its anxiety reducing ways, but all I can say is that I am super excited and I hope this makes it out into the app world.

It’s about time scientists focus on a mental health problem that ails so much of the population, and I for one, cannot wait to download it to my phone and reduce my anxiety, hopefully this time AFTER I complete my work.




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