Everyone knows that smartphones make life convenient. They make it easy to check the weather, find a recipe, stay in touch with friends, follow the news, or just see what Kim Kardashian had for breakfast. But for people with nomophobia, smartphones cause more problems than they solve. Nomophobia is a moniker for smartphone addiction, short for “no mobile phone phobia.” That’s right—smartphone addiction has become enough of an issue that it merits its own word.
In fact, a study by the University of Derby found that one in eight people are addicted to their phones. And while nomophobia hasn’t made its way into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders just yet, the signs and symptoms of smartphone addiction range from the psychological to the physical and are very real for those suffering. The good news? It’s easy to find out if you’re addicted to your smartphone and take measures to scale back before it becomes a bigger problem. And when you want to kick your smartphone habit, start with the 11 Easy Ways to Conquer Your Smartphone Addiction.
You Can’t Sleep
Smartphone addiction has been linked to trouble sleeping. Research suggests that the blue light emitted by your phone can actually disrupt your sleep cycle, making it harder to fall asleep. If you find that you can’t stop looking at your phone until the moment you close your eyes, despite the fact that it may be interfering with your sleep, you might be addicted to your smartphone. Instead of scrolling through Instagram every night, pick up a few of the 20 Nighttime Habits Guaranteed to Help You Sleep Better.
Addiction doesn’t just mean you look at your phone a lot. It also comes with measurable symptoms that indicate you’ve become dependent on your phone in a way that impedes your everyday life. For some addicts, this means just the thought of not having their phone can cause them anxiety and actually going without their phone is a no-go entirely. If the notion of leaving your phone at home for the day sends you into a panic, master the art of calming your nerves with 10 Ways to Focus Better During Meditation.
You’re Stressed Out By Social Media
If you’re constantly checking your phone, you’re more likely to get stressed out by what’s happening on Facebook. Political arguments on Facebook had a negative emotional effect on 42% of people who constantly look at their phone, as opposed to just 27% of people with healthier smartphone habits. On top of making you stressed, Facebook bingeing is just one of 15 Daily Habits That Are Killing Your Confidence.
You Can’t Stand Still Without Checking Your Phone
The average American checks their cell phone 47 times each day, according to research by Deloitte. That’s already quite a lot, and if you find yourself looking at your phone above and beyond that measure, you might be suffering from nomophobia.
You Fail the Test
Worried about smartphone addiction? There’s an online quiz for that. The quiz was created by assistant professor of human computer interaction at State University of New York at Oswego Caglar Yirdirim to help people assess whether they’ve got a case of nomophobia. A score under 20 means you’re probably all good, but as your score increases, so does the amount your phone habits are interfering with your life.
You Lose Time
Do frequently find yourself snapping back to reality and realizing you’ve been lost in your phone for an extended period of time? Losing time by reaching for your phone when you’re bored could be a sign that you’ve got a smartphone problem.
You’re Always Distracted
Do you find yourself missing out on what your friends are up to, even though you’re right there with them? Giving your phone so much attention that you find yourself ignoring the conversations and people around can be a sign of smartphone addiction. On top of that, conversation is actually a useful workout for your brain, so when you pass on talking to your friends for checking on your Facebook, you’re missing an opportunity to keep your mind sharp. In fact, it’s just one of 17 Daily Habits That Are Ruining Your Brain.
You Can’t Stop Checking In
Social media addiction isn’t quite the same thing as smartphone addiction, but if you can’t put your phone down because you’re looking at Facebook or Instagram, it can be a slippery slope that leads straight to nomophobia. Get the jump on smartphone addiction by avoiding these 15 Facebook Habits You Need to Break.
You Text More Than Talk
One of the many deleterious effects of smartphone addiction is that you may find yourself isolated from the real world. If you find yourself communicating with people via text more often than face to face, it’s probably time to turn the phone off and grab a cup of coffee with a friend.
You Mindlessly Scroll
Spending hours scrolling through social media feeds or websites like a zombie that craves likes instead of brains is a sign that you have a problem moderating the way you use your phone. You might think you’re looking at your phone because you have “nothing better to do,” but almost anything is better than killing time looking at your phone for no good reason.
You Feel Phantom Vibrations
If you have a problem with smartphone addiction, you probably know what we’re talking about. You feel your phone vibrating, but when you check it, there’s nothing there. It could be a sign that you are so anxious about not using your phone that your body eagerly interprets other stimuli as a message from your phone. This anxiety can also keep you from being fully present with your family or friends.
You Text While Driving
The inability to stop doing something despite the negative consequences it can have on your health or life is a classic sign of addiction, and that’s exactly what texting while driving is. People who text and drive actually have worse reaction time than people who drink and drive. If you can’t put your phone away while you’re driving, you’re a danger to yourself and to others on the road.
You Have Physical Discomfort
In addition to making you anxious, when you’re addicted to your phone and don’t have it on you, you can feel actual discomfort. A study found that people who had their phones confiscated experienced increased heart rate, blood pressure, and feelings of unpleasantness, while their cognitive abilities actually decreased when they heard their phone ringing but couldn’t answer it.
You Can’t Leave Home Without It
If you find yourself without your phone while you’re on your way to run a simple errand, do you have to turn around and go back home to get it? That kind of attachment to a device isn’t healthy, and could be a sign of nomophobia.
You’re Wasting Too Much Time
The average American spends somewhere between four and five hours every day looking at their phone. If you are spending more time that that on your phone, you might have a problem.
You Feel Lonely Without It
Overuse of your phone can lead to increased feelings of shyness or loneliness, caused in no small part by the isolation you experience when your entire world exists in a little computer you hold in your hand. If you find yourself feeling lonely even though you’ve maxed out your Facebook friend count, use your phone to call a friend instead of posting another status update.
You Never Eat Alone
When you sit down for dinner with friends, is the first thing you do plop your phone down on the table so you can keep an eye on it at all times? If so, you’re letting your phone get in the way of your relationships with your friends, which is a sign of addiction.
Your Relationship Is Suffering
A shocking 9 percent of people admitted they’ve used their phone while in the act with their partner. If this is you, stop it. There’s no excuse for checking Twitter during an intimate moment.
You’re Acting Impulsively
Smartphone addiction has been linked to an increase in impulsive behavior. Too much time on your phone can lead to an imbalance in your brain chemistry and has been linked to depression, anxiety, insomnia, and impulsive behavior.
You Just Can’t Quit
Making multiple attempts to cut back on how much you use your phone and failing miserably every single time is a sure sign of smartphone addiction. Instead of going cold turkey, try whittling it down until you reach your goal amount of daily screen time. Having a hard time coping with withdrawals? Kick the habit for good by using 70 Genius Tricks to Instantly Get Happy.
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