How to Deal with Nomophobia — Smartphone Separation Anxiety
Smartphone separation anxiety is a legit ailment we modern folks suffer from. According to stats, 52% of smartphone owners check it a few times an hour or more. Some even admittedly freak out when their smartphone battery goes lower than 30%. Scientists have officially declared this to be a widespread problem and have even given it the term of, ‘nomophobia’, used to describe the feeling of panic and anxiety when they are not able to access their phones.
But it’s Just a Device. Why Do We Suffer from Anxiety At All?
We are addicted to our smartphones because it has inevitably become an extension of ourselves. We literally have the world in our hands. Be it communicating with your family and friends instantly, or be it obtaining information on the go, our phones make us omnipresent. We can’t get away from it even if we wanted to because the world wouldn’t let us. People want you to be there when they call you. People want you to respond to emails. People want to stay connected to you through social media. In fact, people want so much of you through your phone that it becomes a nightmare to lose or be away from your phone even a single moment.
Psychologically, you crave for those messages and those emails because you’ve forced your mind to be constantly busy and receive/respond to information all through the day (and the night). The moment your mind does not have your phone as a stimulant it leaves you in a state of shock. Things You Can Do to Minimize the Anxiety
Like other addictions and anxiety issues, you can’t just go cold-turkey. There may be no physical side-effects (headaches when quitting coffee or smoking), but there will be increased restlessness and constant agitation. So the key to reducing nomophobia lies in taking one slow step at a time. Limiting your habits and gradually reducing the anxiety.
Learn to Shut Off Your Smartphone More
Nomophobia wrecks your sleep and makes you feel groggy all day long. Along with the sleep problems, it also causes an immense distraction. You are no longer in control of your life but your device is. Imagine how crude that feeling is? You can reduce this dependency on your phone by learning to shut it off for a few hours a day and for the whole night. This way you get quality sleep, no stimulants and productive days.
Remove All Unnecessary Apps on Your Phone
Apps are sometimes a bane to our existence. Every app is enabled to give you notifications. So be it Twitter or Linkedin, Facebook or Insta, Snapchat or Pinterest, fitness apps or reminders, music apps or productivity apps - the list is endless. Not only is it frustrating but also extremely distracting. You have to continuously be attentive to them. So if you want a moment of peace, try removing all those apps. Set a time in the day for checking your social media notifications and activities on your laptop instead of your mobile. Honestly, we don’t really need apps.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Make your phone difficult to reach. Don’t carry them into meetings. Don’t keep them at your table side. Keep the phone out of sight and gradually, you’ll get used to not having them around. Every time you have the impulse to reach out to your phone, it just won’t be there. No phone, no distraction.
Use an Old Phone
If all else fails and you still want to get rid of nomophobia, change your phone. Go back to a block phone - the ones that you can only use to make or receive phone calls and messages. In fact, old phones are way more efficient in helping you deal with smartphone addiction and anxiety. After all, you only need a phone to make basic phone calls and messages.
Train Your Mind
Nomophobia is not an official mental disease yet, but with the rising trend of smartphone addiction, it could probably end up becoming an actual mental ailment. This is in your control and all you need is a change in mindset. Engage your mind in other productive activity such as reading a book or writing a journal. Train your mind to go beyond the screen. Train it to look at the world for what it is rather than trying to capture it on a screen. Train your mind to accumulate less information and focus on getting things done. Lastly, try replacing virtual interactions with real-time interactions and notice the difference in your life.
Smartphone anxiety may sound like a snowflake deal to many, but it is a real dilemma that affects millions of us on a daily basis. We are literally under the control and mercy of our fancy devices. Let’s get back our lives.