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The reason you should turn off your notifications right now

Turning off notifications for brief periods of time can be beneficial for your health down the line, according to a long term study.

A joint team from Carnegie Mellon University and Spanish telecommunications company Telefónica recruited 30 people for an experiment where they had to turn off their notifications for a week. The team struggled to find 30 people willing to do that, according to Quartz, so they settled for turning them off for 24 hours.

The study, named “Do Not Disturb Challenge” began in 2015. The 30 participants were a mix of males and females aged 19 to 56, described as “white collar workers”. Participant felt more productive and less distracted immediately. Some participants, however, felt isolated, less responsive and anxious as a result. Their anxiety did not turn into more serious, systematic stress. Two thirds of the participants said that they would be changing the way they manage their notifications after the 24 hour hiatus, as the Independent reports.

Catching up with the participants in 2017, the researchers found that the change had been long lived. While not all participants changed their notification behaviour completely, 59.1% had kept at least partially to the changes they had made – for instance, one participant kep the SMS notifications on, but turned them off for Facebook and other social media. By attempting this one day deprivation treatment, the participants had lowered their stress and distraction for years to come.

Daisy Wilder

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