Study Finds Mindfulness and Experiential Avoidance Impact Smartphone Usage

According to a new study published in International Journal of Yoga, the researchers from India have found that practicing mindfulness can mitigate the negative effects of excessive smartphone use. The study elaborates further that if an individual is mindful, he can easily avoid using his smartphone too much but if an individual tends to avoid unpleasant situations, the use of smartphone by him can be increased up to 25%. The excessive use of the smartphone is responsible for many of our negative behavioral traits and it can interfere with our daily lives. Mindfulness refers to the state of being where an individual is aware of his thoughts, feelings and what’s happening around his environment.

A psychological concept called experiential avoidance is related to this study. It means that an individual ignores his feelings, thoughts and other sensation by going to addictive measures, like using too much smartphone as long as it is helping him avoid other situations in his life. The author of the study, Manoj Kumar Sharma, said that this study is done after taking in mind the use of smartphones under two conditions– mindfulness and experiential avoidance. Both of these conditions are opposite to each other. Mindfulness means staying in a situation whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, while experiential avoidance means disassociating from a situation for your peace of mind.

He also added that mindfulness and experiential avoidance are both studied in psychology and our purpose of study is to know more about how they are linked with the use of the smartphone. The researchers did the survey of 434 Indians between the ages of 18 to 30 by giving them standardized questionnaires with questions about use of the smartphones, mindfulness and experiential avoidance. The results showed that higher levels of experiential avoidance are linked with excessive use of smartphones. On the other hand, higher levels of mindfulness were linked with balanced use of smartphones. Even if an individual is posing mindfulness traits, he can still get addicted to the smartphone if he starts showing experiential traits.

The study also found that individuals with smartphone addictions were the one who were living alone or in a nuclear set up. Experiential avoidance was also detected in those who were living in nuclear and joint families. The study is also impacted by cultural factors that make a family involved in pleasant and unpleasant situations of an individual’s lives.

Image: DIW-Aigen

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