Oct 14th, 2015

You know that anxious feeling you get whenever you leave your smartphone at home? How about when it’s on the other side of the room or even out of arm’s reach? Turns out you’re not alone.

Researchers out of Florida State University, the University of Oklahoma, and Indiana University, conducted a study where they put people in a room and had them solve word search puzzles. What they found was people between the ages of 18-24 performed better on these tests when their phone was near. And not just sort of close by, we’re talking physically in their pocket or purse, as opposed to the phone being in the opposite corner of the same room.

Just for kicks, they even had the phone ring and found elevated blood pressure and heart rate in test subjects when they couldn’t answer it (they were instructed to remain in their seats throughout testing). Unsurprisingly, one subject said “eff it,” and got up to answer their phone anyway.

With the ever growing importance of mobile devices in our lives, in many ways, our smartphones have become an extension of ourselves. It’s how we communicate. Capture moments. Share our thoughts. Like a security blanket, even if you’re not actively using your phone, sometimes it just feels comforting to have it near. Instead of trying to fight it, Dr. Russell Clayton says it’s something we all just need to start accepting.

So, instead of leaving your phone in the office during that big meeting, or in your backpack during a school presentation, you might be better off keeping it on your person to avoid that “lessening of self” feeling. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you flip that do-not-disturb switch to avoid distractions or else it’s just counter intuitive.