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  • Writer's pictureTara Grey

3 Changes I Made To My iPhone Settings To Reduce Stress And Headaches ​

It was one afternoon in April. I was sitting at my desk in the middle of typing an email to a client, one of those emails that needed focus and attention. I was under a time constraint as I needed to leave for my next appointment shortly. My iPhone was right next to me (of course) and a text message “ding” alert came through from a friend, then a second one. At that same moment, my Mail app alerted me with a different tone that I had set, that I had new email. My computer notified me of this as well. I looked back to my computer where I was trying to focus on typing the email and began to continue my train of thought. About 15 seconds later, my iPhone rang with a number I did not recognize and so I reached over to silence it by pressing the volume button on the side of the phone. Coincidentally, a text message came through at the same time from someone else. When the phone call stopped, I received a notification from Facebook Messenger that I had new messages. By the time this was all over, my stress level was through the roof and my headache had begun. This ridiculous insanity was a regular occurrence. And so I decided I needed to make some changes to how I was letting my phone control my life.

iPhone notifications and alerts

I made these 3 changes to my iPhone’s settings and am so glad that I did! Here they are:

  1. I turned OFF the sound alert for incoming emails. Is it nice to know the moment you receive an email? Does it make you feel “loved”? Sure it does! More often than not, as soon as I’d hear that sound (and I had chosen such a cute sound called ‘Bamboo’), I’d unlock my phone to check my email. Maybe it was something important. But it probably could have waited until later. It was most likely even spam or something I was going to delete anyway. Oh well, that was a waste of time. 4 minutes later, I’d hear ‘Bamboo’ sound again! Who might it be?? And this would go on all day. Did I REALLY need to be notified EVERY time I received a new email? NOOOOOO!!! Turning OFF the sound alert for incoming emails has made a HUGE difference in the control I let my phone (and email) have over me.

  2. After going a week with no sound alerts for email, I started to think about which other apps I really didn’t need sound alerts for. And so I went through them, one-by-one, and removed the sound option in notifications for those apps. Another WIN for reducing stress and headaches for me! Without hearing these auditory notifications, I wasn’t checking my phone as much, unnecessarily.

  3. The last change I made was something I probably should have done a while ago, but I hesitated for several reasons - activating the Do Not Disturb While Driving option. This feature of the iPhone will turn off all visual and sound notifications for apps, including text messages, while you are driving. (It does not silence phone calls.) I was reluctant to turn this feature on because, yes, I text(ed) while driving. I admit it. I know. And I would check Facebook while driving, and LinkedIn, and Twitter, and...Yes, THE DANGERS ARE ENDLESS. You can tell when someone is looking at their phone while driving: head is tilted slightly downward, and the eyeballs keep shifting up and down rather quickly. That constant movement of the eye muscles, in conjunction with driving (in NJ), traffic, running late, following GPS, and maybe even being on a Bluetooth phone conversation at the same time, is more than enough to cause anyone a headache, let alone someone who deals with chronic migraines. It had to stop. But I was scared that I would miss an important or semi-important text message while I was driving. I also was worried that all the thoughts that came into my mind that I wanted to relay by text while I was driving, would be forgotten by the time I was in a place where I was able to text again. With the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature, I can have an automatic text message that gets sent out when someone sends me a text while I’m driving. The auto text from me states to the sender that I am driving and will see their message when I arrive at my destination. It also gives them the option of calling me instead if their message is urgent. Phone calls (by Bluetooth) I can do. I’ve also noticed that I’m not thinking about wanting to text people or post to Facebook or send an email while I’m driving anymore. I’m paying attention to the road, and listening to music. Both hands on the wheel. I’m aware, and headaches and stress have decreased dramatically.

All in all, for me, the decrease in sound alerts and notifications coming from many apps on my iPhone has significantly cut my screen time, my “checking”, and the constant feeling of being “on” all the time. I am now the one in control.


Want to learn more about the ways you can tweak your iPhone's settings so that it doesn't take control of your life? Get in touch with me here!



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