How to handle a mobile device panic attack
You are not alone
How many times has your heart started to race and your palms sweat as you instantly find yourself spun into an anxiety attack over technology? Perhaps it's your phone: can't find it, dropped it in the toilet, it goes black, you jump out of a cab or Uber and your entire body starts to go numb as you frantically look for your cell phone.
Any of these moments sound familiar? According to recent studies, you are not alone. Approximately 60-70 percent of the population, particularly ages 17-25, suffer from what's now referred to as "nomophobia".
Let's dismantle what's really going on here. We have misplaced our sense of safety and connection from within to the external, which renders us extremely vulnerable to anxiety attacks. Basically, when we are spun by a nomophobia episode, we have farmed out our sense of safety and connection (which are two of our basic needs for survival next to food, water, shelter) to an external object which we have given power to define our sense of well-being.
On a recent business trip, I rolled my bag into my hotel room and began to unpack, only to quickly realize that the clothes were not mine. Instantly, I felt the serpent of anxiety slither throughout my entire body, putting me into an instant state of panic, with one thought dominating my mental screen saver: my cell phone and computer are in my bag that someone else has.
Ever been there? How often have you heard, "My entire life is on my computer and phone, if I lose that I'm ….." Let's slow this down a bit for reflection. This is an opportunity to explore and perhaps readjust our sources of security.
What are your sources of safety (security) and connection? Are you giving power to the almighty cell phone for your sense of value, worth and connection? Has your computer become your mirror, mirror on the wall, tell me if I am good enough, smart enough and if people like me, source of identity?
No judgment here; this is simply an invitation to reflect on the power we give to inanimate objects to spin us out of our inner peace, confidence, value and worth. Stress and anxiety are our body's response to the power we give to thought forms which conclude that we are not safe, connected or capable of successfully handling a situation. Whether it be a nomophobic experience or an opinion of another person, we have the innate ability to choose our source of reference for our sense of security and value.
Three Tips to Remember in the Midst of a Mobile Device Anxiety Attack:
- The contact information is in the toilet with your phone, not the people that you value most.
- Believe it or not, society existed very successfully without these devices for a very long time and actually, people in that ancient culture had more time to be present to the task at hand without interruptions, as well as experience more face-to-face interactions. Can you imagine what that was like?
- You are not your cell phone, computer, email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social media outlet or the messages they contain. The more we farm out our identity to those things, the more vulnerable we become to unhealthy attachments. An attachment is an emotional state of clinging due to the belief that without that certain thing, we cannot be happy and secure.