What would it be like if you took a mindful breath each time before using your mobile phone?
Try it next time you use your mobile device. Bring yourself to the present moment: notice your breath – the sensation of your hands holding the device – the sounds around you – the place where your body is standing or sitting – any sense of emotion in your body – thoughts streaming through your mind – the quality of the air or temperature- others who may be around you – the sound of the voice of the person you are speaking with – the image in your mind about the reaction of the person you are texting…
All of that might take more than one breath, but even just noticing one full in-breath and one full out-breath can bring you out of the autopilot that the mind operates on so often and into an awareness of the present moment: a state of mindfulness.
I’m writing about this because there is a new term that, unlike MoPho (for Mobile Phone), I didn’t invent: Nomophobia.
Can you guess what it means? I’ll give you a hint – I am not posting this from my mobile, but I’m kind of wondering where it is right now.
It can be either comforting or disturbing to find that something you do sometimes, or often, or too much, has an actual name.
Madeline Stone reports in Business Insider – http://ow.ly/A245c – that “nomophobia” is the term that is being used to describe a person who experiences severe anxiety or panic in the absence of their mobile phone, imagines that they are hearing message alerts or feeling alert vibrations when there are none, obsessively checks their mopho every few minutes, and such.
Of course, there is a distinction to be made between a phobic response and a normal response.
When we have so much of our personal information: documents, notes, calendar, memories, contacts and access to others, etc stored and dependent on a single device, if it goes missing then, of course, there is going to be anxiety. It is no different than losing your wallet or purse. There is a lot to lose there. So it is naturally disturbing.
However, the distinction here is associating a need to have the device at all times or having a feeling of anxiousness or panic when not using it.
Compulsively checking your mopho and experiencing anxiety until you do is another indicator that there may be some unhealthy imbalance there.
Do you use your mobile phone to a point where it interferes with other activities and functions? creates a disturbance in family life? limits face to face social interactions at school or work? Do you notice mopho use creating sleep disturbance? These are all signs that your cell phone use is affecting your life in an unhealthy way.
Yes, mobile device use is ubiquitous and we are still discovering how useful, fun, and enhancing to our personal and professional lives they can be. We are also exploring how to incorporate them as a part of the balance of our wellbeing.
Most likely you do not have a serious case of “nomophobia”, but if you think you do or if people close to you are telling you do, then by all means give it some serious consideration.
You can always call a professional counselor to talk about it. Many will offer a free consultation.
Counseling professionals – like LMHC or LPC – are trained to assess your problem and use their skills, including life coaching skills, stress reduction, looking at underlying issues, to help you develop a workable plan and support you as you make the changes you want.
In any case, the use of a technique like the mindful breath suggested above can help to bring awareness to what you doing with your present moment. Awareness, in this, as in most things, is the key to our daily quest for vital living.
What do you do keep your virtual life in balance?