Are you somebody who has to be on your cell phone or in front of another screen 24/7? Do you feel like you can’t be separated from looking at media more than a small fraction of the time? If so, you not only have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), but you are also probably helping to keep your anxiety going…and a whole lot more.
This Is An Epidemic Now
We now live in a hyper-connected world, with it now being possible to stay connected with the digital world every day, every hour, every minute. Since cell phone ownership has skyrocketed in the last 10 to 15 years, more and more people than ever own phones. This has created a sense in some people that they need their cell phones like an appendage. It has made people very anxious if they don’t have access to a cell phone or a computer screen. Thus we now have the widely known concept of FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out.
How You Help Cure the Epidemic
The simplest thing to do is not own a cell phone...or a computer… or a television. That’s too simple, though. Like it or not, smart phone technology is here to stay, at least until it gets eclipsed by something newer and better. By the way, they’ve already worked with prototypes for this. Heard of Google Glasses? Anyway, one of the things research is suggesting is that smart phone use can be related to increased levels of anxiety. I’m not talking about disconnecting completely, but having at least some times of the day and night when you aren’t ‘connected’ by way of the phone could be helpful in limiting cell phone related stress and anxiety.
The Real Need is For a Sense of Connection
You think that if you answer the text or the call, or check your email you are staying connected with those you love and care for. The only problem is that you are connecting essentially to an electronic device. A virtual hug isn’t a substitute for a real one. Nor is a virtual smile or a virtual kiss, or any of that. It’s all at least one step removed from the real thing. You want to be with those you care about, but you can’t and your cell phone is your way of helping you feel more connected to others. Technology is a wonderful thing, don’t get me wrong; but if it’s a substitute for real and direct human contact then something is missing.
Where Do I Come In
If you’re attached to your cell phone like it’s an appendage and your suffering from related stress and anxiety, I can help you figure out ways to deal with these and figure out how to have a greater sense of connection in your life and with others. It may be a matter of just establishing some times to set your cell phone down and/or turn it off, but it could also be a sign of a deeper problem that you need to look at and address. For example, someone who has social anxiety can have all kinds of fun using electronic media to interact with others without having any interface with a real human being, but they never have to face their real fears of rejection, inadequacy, or potential embarrassment from having someone reject them after having tried to initiate social interaction. I myself have struggled with some degree of social anxiety in the past and can assure you it is something that can be overcome.
How Can a Shrink Help Me With a Cell Phone?
In my years of training and experience, I’ve helped well over a hundred individuals overcome blocks in their lives that are much bigger than cell phones to lead functional and fulfilling lives. If FOMO and related cell phone anxiety are keeping you from leading the kind of life you want, I can help to overcome that as well. The key is finding the most fulfilling ways of connecting with others, and some of that is messy and risky; but it can help lead you to rely more on yourself and others instead of a cell phone telling you what to do and ruling your life. Anyway, you’re a lot bigger than that device; so why not show it who’s the boss? Feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email to see if this is something I can help you with at 512-374-0100 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I offer free 15 minute phone consults and can give you an idea if this is something I can help you with.
About the author: Scott Kampschaefer, LCSW is a private practice therapist in Austin, Texas. He has an extensive background in working with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder at a clinic for older adults with these disorders in Austin. He now works with adults of all ages in private practice.