Why Do You Feel Anxious When You Forget Your Phone?

We all carry our phones with us everywhere we go, and for many of us, it has become an extension of our bodies.

We use them to stay connected to the world around us and make sure we never miss a thing. 

But what happens when we don’t have our phones with us?

For many people, feelings of anxiety and disconnection quickly set in. It’s estimated that somewhere around half of all adults experience some degree of nomophobia – short for “no mobile phone phobia.”

What Is Nomophobia?

Nomophobia is a type of anxiety triggered when we’re separated from our phones.

Like other anxiety disorders, you may experience:

  • Panic attacks
  • Breathing changes
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Easily irritated
  • Agitation
  • Disorientation
  • Elevated heart rate

For some people, even the thought of being without their phone can cause these symptoms.

Our cell phones allow us to connect with others. They give us immediate access to information, social media, news sources, work documents, and more.

When we’re separated from our phones, it can feel like losing a vital lifeline.

What’s the Difference Between Use and Abuse?

When the fear and anxiety of being without your phone becomes so overwhelming that it affects your life – if your relationship with your phone interferes with your relationships, work responsibilities, or other everyday activities, then it’s time to make a change.

It’s normal to feel some anxiety when you’re separated from the things that keep you connected to your loved ones. But this shouldn’t be so intense that you can’t function without them.

Do you find yourself compulsively checking your phone, even when you don’t want to?

Do you use your phone to avoid thinking about or dealing with problems?

Do you have panic attacks when you can’t use your phone?

Do you have trouble focusing or completing tasks when you don’t have your phone?

Are you unable to continue working, going about your daily errands, and carrying out responsibilities after you realize away from your phone?

Coping With Phone-Separation Anxiety

If you find yourself experiencing anxiety and panic when you’re separated from your cellphone, here are a few things that may help:

Practice going without your phone for short periods of time and gradually increase the length of time you can go without it.

Examine your thoughts and beliefs about your phone. You might believe that some catastrophe will occur if you are without it, but is this fear realistic or rational?

Discover healthier ways of dealing with stress and anxiety. Instead of reaching for your phone to distract yourself and escape your feelings, try other outlets like exercise, writing in a journal, meditation, or therapy to help you cope with uncomfortable emotions.

Connect with people and the world around you. Find new activities that bring you joy without needing your phone to participate.

Focus on being present in the moment and not letting your phone anxiety prevent you from experiencing everything else that’s going on.