The Science Behind Why Having a Phone Causes Anxiety

Are you addicted to your smartphone? And feel like you can’t live without it?

Smartphone dependency causes a paranoia. It’s known as “Fear of Missing Out”. Psychologists call it “safety seeking behavior”. There can be no other word for it.

People previously dealt with complex situations with planning and patience. But with instant messaging and constant connectivity, we are able to constantly reassure ourselves — and right here this means “become irretrievably dependent”.


Uncertainty is a healthy psychological phenomenon. It is important for human beings to feel unsure at times. This is an important part of growing into a secure and mature adult.

But when you post a photo and get a whole bunch of likes every time you think you’re not as good looking as some Photoshopped celebrity, or upload an album of a visit to Nepal when you feel like there’s nothing going on in life, your brain is prevented from understanding that these feelings were for no real reason. There is no patience.

And you remain an insecure teenager mentally no matter how old you get.

When you text a friend every time you come across a tough situation at work, you are deprived of the ability to think of reasonable solutions yourself. You will always be dependent on others for even the smallest of decisions.

You must be uncertain in order to learn the opposite. But by constantly plugging into the whole world, we are able to instantly rid ourselves of uncertainty. And this increases anxiety.

The Psychology of Smartphones

You see, smartphones rely on our brain’s need for dopamine. The buzz we experience from getting an unexpected text from an old friend is due to dopamine production. Gambling works precisely the same way: we await the satisfactory ping or roar of having won the lottery exactly like we await a text or a notification.

Every time you refresh your Instagram feed, your brain expects to see new information. Whenever you post a new photo, your brain awaits likes and comments. If few minutes pass by without any notification, you are inclined to reach out and try to refresh the app.

This is called being helplessly distracted. It is very unhealthy, and interferes with our development.

The Solution

It is important to unplug and disconnect from everything every once in a while. This enhances mental stability and peace. Have a time during the day when you switch off your smartphone, or deliberately leave it at home for a while.

In fact, some psychologists even recommend switching off all electronic devices at least once a week.

Perhaps that’s unimaginable for now. But we can take gradual steps forward.

via WEF

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