Is Your Tiny Screen Bad for Your Self-Esteem?

There are a thousand reasons to put down your cell phone. Not only does it lead to smartphone face (the saggy jowls plastic surgeons increasingly see in people who look down all the time), it disrupts dinners, steals precious time away from loved ones, and blinds us to what is urgent versus what is important.

If those reasons aren’t enough to convince you, perhaps this will. New research shows smartphones are ruining your posture AND ruining your mood. Harvard professor Amy Cuddy explains:

The average head weighs about 10 to 12 pounds. When we bend our necks forward 60 degrees, as we do to use our phones, the effective stress on our neck increases to 60 pounds—the weight of about five gallons of paint.

Yes, those “dowagers’ humps” usually observed in great grandmothers (when the upper back is frozen in a C-curve) is now common among people much younger.

In addition to being bad for your back, slouching is terrible for your mood. When you are sad or upset, your body language shifts, sometimes in imperceptible ways. You hunch your shoulders, you cross your arms, you look down.

Research shows the opposite is true too. Bad posture can actually lead to a bad mood. Participants in a study who were asked to sit in a slouched position reported significantly lower-self esteem, a worse mood and greater fear than those who were asked to sit upright.

As Cuddy comments:

Ironically, while many of us spend hours every day using small mobile devices to increase our productivity and efficiency, interacting with these objects, even for short periods of time, might do just the opposite, reducing our assertiveness and undermining our productivity.

In other words, put down that iPhone and slowly back away.

I wish you all the best,

Dr. Samantha Boardman