Do you ever feel too attached to your phone? We all get upset when our phones fall into puddles, or when we have to put our phones away during class.
But some people feel super intense discomfort when they get separated from their phones. Researchers have named this state of mind “nomophobia.” Its important to note that this is not a medical diagnosis right now, but a term some researchers are using to describe a trend.
It stands for “no mobile phobia.” People who experience nomophobia feel like their phone is like an extension of their body, so taking it away makes them feel as though someone just walked away with their hand! They feel addicted to their phones.
One recent study found that “dependent personalities”—people who have an excessive need for affirmation from others, and who fear separation—are the most likely to feel distressed when they’re not allowed to use their phones. Also, women showed significantly stronger feelings of attachment than men did.
The good news from this study is that there is one discipline that may ease these feelings—mindfulness!
(Is there any mental health condition that mindfulness does not help?!)
There are many ways to improve one’s mindfulness. In this study, participants practiced meditation. In general mindfulness helps people who struggle with unhealthy attachments, whether it’s to their phone, a loved one, a substance, an outcome of a situation, and so on. Plus, mindfulness can help us in many ways, not just with attachment! Practicing mindfulness can decrease stress, increase focus, and improve memory!
Psychology Today recommends some other strategies to help with nomophobia:
- Set aside times each day to turn off your cell phone and experience either face-to-face conversations or solitude.
- Balance screen time and in-person time each week. For every hour you invest in front of a screen, invest one in human contact.
- Try a technology fast every month, where you actually go for a day or more without a computer, tablet or phone. You’ll feel liberated.
- Human beings didn’t always sleep with phones on their nightstands or even under their pillows. Place your phone at least 15 feet away from you when you sleep at night. You’ll have to get up to push “snooze” on your alarm clock, but this way you’re less attached while you sleep.
- Create zones in your days when you spend time using technology, and other blocks of time for organic, genuine interaction with people.
What do you think about nomophobia? How many minutes (or seconds) pass between the time you wake up and the time you check your phone? Have you ever tried to practice mindfulness yourself? Share your experiences in the comments.