Do you know the signs of nomophobia?
Nomophobia is a term that began as a comic slang term for “not having a phobia of mobiles.” It indicated anxiety or fear of being left without a mobile phone for any reason. The concept of nomophobia is part of an ongoing academic interest in the effects of digital media on mental health and vice versa.
The misuse of digital media by people is far from a new concept, as the term “nomophobia” was coined in 2008 for a study Made in the UK. This research found that 58% of men and 47% of women experience nomophobia. Worse still, allegedly 9% of mobile phone users experience distress or anxiety when their phones are turned off or not with them. Also, 50% of nomophobes never turn off their phone!
Unfortunately, although it may seem like a silly concept, nomophobia can be a problem for those who experience it. Excessive use of mobile devices can significantly affect mental health and, in turn, be affected by mental health. This habit creates a vicious cycle. Many people are at risk of developing these problems, as practically everyone has a mobile device of some kind these days.
So how can you protect yourself against this problem? Awareness is always a good starting point. When you can notice the warning signs, you can fight them in time. This is how studies by psychologists reveal 3 signs of nomophobia and how to help yourself.
1. Physical symptoms of anxiety
In essence, nomophobia is a problem that presents anxiety and fear. This means that many of the classic symptoms of anxiety, specifically the physical ones, can occur if you experience this phobia. In most cases, this happens when you are not near your phone. But it’s entirely possible that the anxiety is constant due to the increased fear of being without your device.
- Chest tightness
- Labored breathing
- Shaking or shaking
- Sweating excessively
- Tachycardia or fast heart rate
In that sense, it is important to note that having pre-existing mental disorders, especially anxiety disorders, can increase your risk of nomophobia, according to investigation. This is because you are more likely to become dependent on your phone. Studies He also noted that while anyone can experience nomophobia, more people will if they already experience agoraphobia or social anxiety as a diagnosed disorder.
It can be difficult to help alleviate the physical symptoms of anxiety as they are more generalized and not specific to phones. The fact that anxiety automatically makes anxiety self-care more difficult to perform is an additional hurdle. Still, here are some ways to do it:
· Avoid stimulants
Alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine can make anxiety symptoms worse and even take your mind off jitters due to the hormone production they cause.
· Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep causes fatigue that can increase experiences of anxiety. Getting plenty of rest is crucial to fighting many of the worst effects of anxiety and can even reduce the severity of some of its symptoms.
· Stay physically active
Exercise releases feel-good hormones called endorphins that stimulate positive thinking and improve your overall health. You will experience a reduction in stress at a rate that can reduce your anxiety.
· Use relaxation techniques
Mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, yoga, and other similar techniques are often touted as successful methods for managing the worst of anxiety.
2. Constant need for a working phone
This symptom is pretty obvious, but it’s very easy to miss. After all, who doesn’t carry their phone to most places? But as the name “nomophobia” suggests, not being able to feel safe without your phone is the biggest sign that something is wrong. Here are some more specific signs that this is a problem:
· Taking it everywhere with you
Do you carry your phone with you no matter where you go? Do you have it with you everywhere, even when you go to take a shower or when you need to do a single quick task? And if you don’t have it in your pocket or hand, do you feel the need to keep it within your line of sight?
· Constantly checking it
This is less likely to apply if you use your phone for work purposes. But it is still important to keep in mind. It’s you constantly checking your phone, even several times an hour? Do you feel obligated to make sure you don’t miss a single notification? Are you always worried that it might not work, which makes you check it even more?
· Difficulty to sleep
If you constantly check your phone at night to the point where you cannot sleep, you are experiencing a very severe urge to be on your phone even to your detriment. Your phone can also always be within reach of your bed, so you never have to be away from it.
· Irrational reactions to being without it
If you are in a situation where your access to your mobile device is restricted, you may experience extreme and disproportionate levels of stress and anxiety, even in public. This can happen because of work, in airports, in academic institutions, and anywhere else where telephone access is limited. It can also happen when you lose reception, run out of battery, or forget your phone, say studies.
The constant need to be on your phone is an addiction, in a way. As such, it can be difficult to fight alone. Here are some ways to work to overcome this ongoing need, as recommended by Psychology Today author and contributor Tim Elmore:
- Set daily times when you turn off the phone and put it away. If it is difficult at first, start small and gradually increase the time period as you go.
- Determine certain environments where you cannot and should not carry your phone. Whenever you enter these environments, immediately turn off your phone or leave it somewhere else. This will help your brain designate locations without using the phone, allowing for better balance and less dependency.
- Try a monthly tech fast where you go for a day or two without using any mobile device. Don’t cheat with laptops or tablets – All devices must be removed from your daily life!
- Place your phone at least 15 feet away from you when you go to bed at night to avoid easy checking.
3. Unhealthy social interaction
Many people who fear not having their phones rely on them for aspects of daily social interaction. This can form toxic social patterns that will harm you in the long run. Here are some ways you can use your phone in negative social patterns:
· Coping with social anxiety
If you have social anxiety issues, you can use your phone as a quick way to escape social situations and appear busy. You can also use devices to act as an intermediary between you and others, avoiding the need for face-to-face interaction.
· Identity determination through mobile devices
This is especially true for teens and young adults who are still discovering aspects of themselves and who they are. Many people who have nomophobia are actually, in some way, addicted to social media apps. Your own identity and social identity may depend on these apps, so doing without a phone removes that identity, leading to a decrease positive thinking and higher levels of anxiety.
· Prevent the fear of isolation
On the other side of social anxiety, some people feel socially dependent on their phones because they are afraid of being isolated from others. You can use your phone to keep in touch with friends and family, which means you don’t want to be left without an easy means of communicating with them. Ironically, this could lead to you spending less time with them in person, which is detrimental to your own desires!
How to improve these three signs of nomophobia
Here are some ways you can work to make your social interactions more positive without being dependent on a mobile device, as provided by Elmore:
- In face-to-face conversations, put your phone away or turn it off and focus on the other person.
- Learn to set aside time for social interaction to fill a certain quota each week. It’s okay to start small, but aim for a 1: 1 ratio of direct human interaction to mobile device use.
- Remember what matters. Social media isn’t real, and everyone who posts there is just showing their best most of the time. The approval of others gained from your social media post facade matters a lot less than you think. Focus on the people around you who really love and care about you!
- Explore your identity. There are many ways you can experiment with your identity without being on social media. Try new hobbies, hang out with new groups of friends, experiment in style … the possibilities are endless!
- Practice social interaction with others. If you started to lose your understanding of social cues, it could take a while to regain your social skills. Practice with others, starting with people you trust. Then slowly increase your challenges to more anxiety-provoking interactions.
- If necessary, seek treatment for agoraphobia or social anxiety. You may experience severe symptoms of social anxiety disorder or agoraphobia. In that case, you may find it too difficult to kick the mobile habit on your own. Seeking treatment from a mental health professional is an ideal way to handle this situation.
While it sounds like something to laugh at, nomophobia should be taken seriously. It is not healthy for the brain to become dependent on a single object, no matter how crucial that element is to daily tasks. That is why, despite the originally humorous usage, nomophobia is something that mental health professionals should begin to regard as a real problem.
It is worth considering that nomophobia is not considered an official mental disorder as of the current fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, much discussion about positive and negatives abound about its possible classification as a specific phobia, as described in the fourth edition of the manual. However, as of this writing, the exact definition of the term is not standardized.
With that said, Internet and telephone addiction is not unusual. in today’s technologically advanced world. If you feel like you have nomophobia, take note of these signs of homophobia that we talked about today and do what you can to help yourself. If you need additional help, a psychologist, therapist, or similar medical professional can help you fix this problem.