If your heart races and you become anxious when you cannot use your cellphone, you might have nomophobia. The recently coined word is used to describe a psychological condition in which people have a fear of being detached from cellphone connectivity. The term is short for “no mobile phobia.”

Nomophobia falls under the definition of “phobia for particular/specific things,” as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The term “phobia” can be misleading, because having nomophobia is considered an anxiety disorder. Although teens and young adults are most likely to be addicted to using their cellphones for the largest chunk of the day (and night), all ages can be guilty of overuse.

Cellphone use

According to Exploding Topics, a website dedicated to discovering trends, the average cellphone user checks their phone 58 times each day. More than half of the phone checks happen during work hours, and half of all screen-time sessions begin within 3 minutes of the last.

Furthermore, 46% of Americans believe they spend an average of 4 to 5 hours on their smartphones each day, while 11% admit to spending 7-plus hours on their phones daily. On average, people across the globe spend 3.25 hours on their phones per day.

Cutting back

If you would like to free up some of your day, be more productive at work or home, or have grown weary of eye strain and brain drain, there are many ways to help cut back on phone use.

Reduce notifications. Start by turning off all notifications except for calls, messages and calendar events. You can always turn notifications back on if necessary. The idea is to pare down the types of notifications you receive so you are only alerted when real people try to reach you.

Download tracking apps. These apps will show your amount of screen time and will help you limit time spent on your device and other apps.

Set boundaries. Keep your phone away from the dinner table so you can fully enjoy meals with loved ones, and don’t bring your phone into your bedroom. Studies have shown that the blue light emitted by your cellphone can negatively affect your sleep quality, not to mention that it’s a safety risk to place a charging cellphone on or under soft bedding or a pillow.

Make goals. Determine other ways to spend your time, especially if you find yourself using your phone out of boredom.

Smartphones have helped us have everything we need to connect to the outside world, right in the palm of our hands. The trick is not letting them take over in-person, real-life experiences and face-to-face connections that are so essential to our well-being.