Alyssa Mancao

Do you have Nomophobia?

Yup, phone separation anxiety (or nomophobia) IS a real thing. In fact, many of you who are probably reading this article on your phone right now may not even realise that you’re also experiencing some of its symptoms. Maybe every time you hear that ping (or whatever notification ringtone you have), you have this clawing feeling inside you that makes you check your phone. Or maybe you have to put your phone out of sight when you’re working, because you can’t resist the temptation of picking it up and plunge into the endless scrolling on Instagram. Whatever it is, there are signs that tell us it’s time to do something about nomophobia. What are these signs? How should we deal with phone separation anxiety? Therapist Alyssa Mancao, who specialises in client-centered therapy, emotional growth, and treating mental health issues, is here with some insights and advice for some of your concerns on nomophobia:-    
1. “I feel the need to check my phone whenever there’s a notification. I have to know who it is or just know what’s going on in my social circle; if not, I will grow worried and anxious…”
    Alyssa: I want you to know that this is a rather common sentiment when you have nomophobia. The moment we see a notification on our phone, our instinct is to check what it is right away. This is the instant gratification that we live in in this day and age - because everything can be delivered to us immediately, we have developed this belief that we also have to respond or know what is happening in real time as well. First, I want you to ask yourself “what could happen if delay reading the message for 20 minutes? 1 hour? A whole day?” The information will still be there. You may want to try a mini phone detox, for example, by having your phone in another room while eating your meals, putting your phone on aeroplane mode while you are watching TV, and ultimately turning off the notifications on your apps to help you detach from your notifications. It is possible to have a healthier relationship with your phone and its notifications, but this takes practice in managing the anxiety around checking (deep breathing, grounding, distraction skills).    
2. “Every time I post something on my social media, I have to constantly open the apps to keep track of how many likes I have…”
   

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