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Ring. Buzzzz. Ping. Chirping smartphones are our constant companions, alerting us to breaking social news and work emergencies at every moment of the day. But this hyperconnection — meant to make life easier — is raising anxiety levels, say scientists who recently found that the more you check your phone, the edgier you feel.

Interestingly, job-related phone activity isn’t the offender, researchers discovered after monitoring 100 users. More nerve-racking are the never-ending personal interactions via email, text and social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The study, presented by University of Worcester psychologist Richard Balding at a British Psychological Society conference, suggests that the pressure to keep up with each missive is driving stress levels. In extreme cases, users feel “phantom vibrations” from their phones, imagining the jolt of a new message when it’s not there.

While it’s tempting to glance at your phone more often during stressful periods (which, in turn, causes you more stress), researchers suggest that you unplug for a moment instead, and break the vicious smartphone circle.

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