25 Apr 5 signs you’re suffering from nomophobia
Nomophobia or ‘no mobile phone phobia’ describes the fear of being without or unable to access your smartphone. The symptoms of nomophobia have a lot in common with smartphone addiction – a dependence syndrome and clinical addiction. Nomophobes and smartphone addicts spend an excessive amount of time on their devices. And this has the propensity to negatively impact all aspects of their lives, notably their relationships and work/life balance. Smartphones are designed to make our lives a lot easier – there’s now an app for pretty much everything, but evidence is starting to stack up that the very devices that are made to make our day-to-day lives simpler, over-complicate them when overused. Back in 2008 research commissioned by Royal Mail indicated that 53% of Brits feel anxious when they “lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit, or have no network coverage”. Now, almost 10 years on, we predict the figure to be significantly higher.
Many would argue that our modern phones are necessary evils to keep us safe and contactable in emergencies. However, we believe the separation anxiety experienced by smartphone users has less to do with staying safe in emergencies, rather more to do with a FOMO (fear of missing out) on the latest happenings online. Interestingly, the guests on our retreats always say that they missed virtually nothing when they turned their phones back on after unplugging for a few days…
Unsure if you suffer from separation anxiety from your phone? We share the symptoms of nomophobia and explain why you need to take note.
Five symptoms of nomophobia
1. You feel anxious when your phone battery gets low
Does your heart start racing and palms begin to sweat when your phone drops into the low battery section? In all seriousness, worrying that you will become un-contactable and unable to check your emails and social feeds at a future point is a clear sign of nomophobia.
2. You can’t leave the house without your smartphone
Can’t even pop to the shop without your phone? Being unable to contemplate being without your smartphone, even for the most mundane activities indicates an unhealthy obsession! Our 30-day digital detox challenge encouraged you to gradually spend more and more time out and about without your phone. Why? Because the world suddenly gets a lot more interesting when you’re not head down, scrolling through your feeds. Trust us, you’ll feel and be a lot more sociable.
3. You feel annoyed when you can’t access your phone
Another clear sign that you suffer from smartphone separation anxiety is feeling irritated when you can’t use your phone. Perhaps someone told you to put it down over dinner and it hit a nerve?
4. You put your life or others’ lives at risk to check your smartphone
It’s recently become illegal to use your phone whilst driving. If you text whilst driving your reaction times are actually two times slower than if you were drink driving. And three times slower if you use a handheld phone. A very clear and serious sign that you are addicted to your smartphone is if you believe that replying to that message immediately is more important than prioritising your safety and that of those around you.
5. You use your phone to check for work updates while on holiday
Take your phone to the beach? It’s reported that 60% of us don’t come back from holiday feeling refreshed because we stay in contact with work and check our emails! A clear sign of nomophobia (and a poor work/life balance!) is not being able to go without checking work messages on your phone whilst on annual leave. Why not remove emails from your phone for a week?
How to overcome nomophobia
You’ve identified that you’re spending too much time attached to your phone. What next? We recommend slowly cutting down your tech time with our 30-day digital detox challenge or 5:2 digital diet. You could even swap your modern mobile for a stripped back phone such as the ‘Punkt’ mobile when out and about. This retro handset doesn’t allow for the modern features and apps we’re accustomed to, but still lets you make and receive calls in case of emergencies. Or hand in your phone and check into one of our life-changing digital detox retreats in Italy and the UK.