Phone Anxiety Is Real: Here Is How I Cope
Do you have phone anxiety? In our current society, there are nearly endless forms of communication. With these new forms of communication comes new anxiety. After all, there is no denying that a lot can be lost in translation when communicating via technology, as opposed to catching up with someone face-to-face. Add a dash of generalized anxiety disorder into the mix, and this phone anxiety can skyrocket and become nearly unbearable. Here are some ways that I have learned to cope with phone anxiety.
Phone Anxiety and the Texting Culture
In our society, texting is a breeding ground for miscommunication. When we socialize in person, we rely significantly on nonverbal cues, body language, and tone. Communicating via text takes all of these forms of communication away, which can make it hard to read how the other person is truly feeling.
I have had numerous conversations with friends where they over-analyze a period added at the end of a sentence in a text message and take it to mean that the person on the other end is mad. Even when I am texting, I feel myself having to add unnecessary exclamation points in an attempt to avoid miscommunication. In the past when I have not given as much attention to my texting punctuation, I have been accused of being too cold, serious, or angry.
Lately, I have been getting better at not reading into texts too much. If I do sense that someone is upset with me based on their message, I do something called "check the facts." I ask questions such as, would they have a reason to be upset with me? Has anything else they have said indicated they are mad at me? If the answer is no, I stop worrying.
Ghosting Culture Is Phone Anxiety-Provoking
Aside from miscommunication, the rise of texting has also led to an increase in ghosting. For those of you who are fortunately unfamiliar with ghosting, the concept describes the way that some people we communicate with online suddenly vanish, never to be heard from again. For many, being ghosted can lead to painful internalized feelings directed towards oneself.
In the past, I have been guilty of over-analyzing why someone would ghost me. Was I too forward? Was I not being forward enough? However, this torturous analyzing does not get you anywhere. Instead, I have learned to cope with such forms of texting anxiety by reframing my thinking.
I know that in the past when I have ghosted people, it had nothing to do with them; it truly did have everything to do with me. I went on an amazing date with a guy, yet, I felt like I was not ready to take the next steps. I am ashamed to say that I never texted him again for these reasons. It had nothing to do with him; I was struggling with my anxieties about starting a relationship in general. We need to stop pinning every bit of blame on us, and instead, focus on perspective checking and considering what the other person may be going through.
Taking a Vacation from Phone Anxiety
Lately, I have been getting better at taking mini-vacations from my phone and certain forms of social media ("How Social Media Messes with Your Confidence"). Taking these vacations is particularly important when I feel my depression and anxiety cropping up. Although I still want to remain in contact with my friends as forms of support, I find that personally, being glued to my phone all day does not help. Furthermore, scrolling through social media and seeing the curated lives of others does not always act as a mood booster. Taking a phone vacation does not have to be a drastic move; rather, you can leave your phone in your bag during class or a meal. Slowly, you may start to notice you are becoming less tethered to your phone.
O'Grady, H. (2019, November 28). Phone Anxiety Is Real: Here Is How I Cope , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, August 14 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/relationshipsandmentalillness/2019/11/phone-anxiety-is-real-here-is-how-i-cope
Author: Hannah O'Grady
I love that this read acknowledges the societal aspect of this, things like texting and ghosting, this is part of the world many of us are steeped in and it can absolutely lead to anxiety. I think your suggestion for a "vacation" is wonderful. I love coming across this kind of honest, and open discussion here. Thank you for posting!