Do you know the signs of nomophobia?
Nomophobia is a term that began as a comedic slang term for “no mobile phobia. It indicated anxiety or fear of being without a mobile phone for any given reason. The concept of nomophobia is part of an ongoing academic interest in digital media’s effects on mental health and vice versa.
Individuals misusing digital media is far from a new concept, with the term “nomophobia” being coined back in 2008 for a study conducted in the United Kingdom. This research discovered that 58% of men and 47% of women experience nomophobia. Worse still, supposedly, 9% of mobile phone users experience distress or anxiety when their phones are off or not with them. Also, 50% of nomophobes never switch off their phone!
Unfortunately, though it can seem like a silly concept, nomophobia can be a problem for those who experience it. The overuse of mobile devices can significantly impact mental health and be impacted in turn by mental health. This habit creates a vicious cycle. Many people are at risk of developing these problems since virtually everyone has a mobile device of some kind these days.
So how can you protect yourself against this problem? Awareness is always a good place to start. When you’re able to notice warning signs, you’re able to combat them in time. Here’s how studies by psychologists reveal 3 signs of nomophobia and how to help yourself.
1. Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety
At its core, nomophobia is an issue featuring anxiety and fear. This means that many of the classic symptoms of anxiety, specifically the physical ones, may occur if you experience this phobia. In most cases, this would occur when you’re away from your phone. But it’s completely possible for the anxiety to be constant due to heightened fear of being without your device.
- Chest tightness
- Difficulty breathing
- Shaking or trembling
- Sweating in excess
- Tachycardia, or rapid heart rate
On that note, it’s important to keep in mind that having pre-existing mental disorders, especially anxiety disorders, can increase your risk of nomophobia, according to research. This is because you are more likely to become dependent on your phone. Studies also noted that while anyone can experience nomophobia, more people will do so if they already experience agoraphobia or social anxiety as a diagnosed disorder.
It can be difficult to help soothe physical symptoms of anxiety, as they’re more generalized and not specific to phones. The fact that anxiety automatically makes self-care against anxiety more difficult to perform is an additional roadblock. Still, here are some ways to do so:
· Avoid Stimulants
Alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine can worsen anxiety symptoms and even push your mind over from nervousness due to the production of hormones that they result in.
· Get Enough Sleep
A lack of sleep results in fatigue that can heighten experiences of anxiety. Being well-rested is crucial in fighting many of the worst effects of anxiety and may even reduce the severity of some of your symptoms.
· Stay Physically Active
Exercise releases feel-good hormones called endorphins that boost positive thinking and improve your overall health. You’ll experience stress reduction at a rate that may 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 handling the worst of anxiety.
2. Constant Need To Have A Working Phone
This symptom is fairly obvious, but it’s very easy to overlook. After all, who doesn’t bring their phone with them to most places? But as the name “nomophobia” suggests, not being able to feel secure without your phone is the biggest sign that something is wrong. Here are some more specific signs that this is a problem:
· Bringing It Everywhere With You
Are you bringing your phone with you no matter where you go? Do you have it with you everywhere, even when you go to have a shower or when you need to perform a single quick task? And if it’s not with you 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’s still important to note. Are you constantly checking your phone, even multiple times an hour? Do you feel compelled to ensure you don’t miss even one notification? Are you always worried that it’s not working, which makes you check it even more?
· Difficulty Sleeping
If you constantly check your phone at night to the point where you’re unable to sleep, you’re experiencing a very severe need to be on your phone even at your detriment. Your phone might also always be within quick reach of your bed, so you never have to be apart from it.