Look around you when you are sitting at a traffic light, walking down the street or sitting in a restaurant It is likely you will see almost as many cell-phones in use as you do people. A recent study found that one in every three teen-agers and almost one in every five baby boomers checks his or her cell phone at least once every fifteen minutes.
Larry Rosen, PhD and past chair of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, has written a book on this problem called iDISORDER: UNDERSTANDING OUR OBSESSION WITH TECHNOLOGY AND OVERCOMING ITS HOLD ON US. He identifies this obsession as being a compulsion rather than an addiction. The difference is in why the user feels the need to check the phone so often. Addicts are triggered physiologically because the behavior releases the pleasure chemical, dopamine, into the brain. Compulsive use is triggered because the use relieves anxiety. The cell-phone users become anxious that they might be missing something like breaking news or someone trying to reach them or using the phone reassures them they haven't lost the phone.
The compulsion to constantly check the phone can cause serious problems both personally and professionally. People who are around cell-phone compulsives can feel diminished. A person who is constantly looking at his phone is sending the message that the person he is with is not as important. This harm relationships and it can harm job performance. A person who keeps her phone on her bedside table may not rest as well if she is constantly checking for incoming messages.
Get a feel for how often you are checking your phone. Then begin to stretch out the time between checks. If you were checking every fifteen minutes, push the time to twenty, Put the phone completely away while driving or with other people. Place the ringer on silent or turn the phone upside down so you can't see messages coming in. If you feel that cell-phone compulsion has become a problem in your life, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool to find new ways to relieve anxiety, control phone use and BE WELL.