Anxiety, Productivity, Stress/Worry

Phone Anxiety in the Age of Coronavirus: Telephone phobia

Woman on couch looking at phone stressed

Telephone Phobia: Phone Anxiety

There are all different types of phobias that fall into the social anxiety category. They may depend on the individual, past experiences, and fears about the future. One type of fear that falls within the social anxiety category is that of communication over the phone, also known as phone anxiety, or telephone phobia

Some people may have phone anxiety about a specific phone call that they are expecting, possibly due to a work call or a relationship problem. While others may have a more generalized fear of making and receiving any phone call at all, regardless of the topic. These emotions can develop at different times:

  • Before the phone call 
    • In anticipation of what is to come 
    • Having a fear about the anticipated topic or flow of conversation
  • During the phone call
    • While in conversation, you may exert your worries and fears into the conversation
    • Fear of being judged by the person on the other line
  • After the phone call
    • Showing signs of worry for how the conversation went
    • Concern for what that conversation means for the future

Emotional Symptoms of Phone Anxiousness

Often times when people are afraid of interacting over the phone they may experience symptoms of anxiety. When a person is feeling anxious, some of their symptoms may include, but are not limited to:

  • Irritability
  • Fearful of the worst outcome
  • Issues with focus and concentration
  • Avoiding interaction or confrontation
  • Delaying making or answering a phone call
  • Trouble forming your thoughts and emotions
  • Worried about what you will say
  • Stressed about how others will respond or think of you
  • Worried about being judged
  • Constantly feeling nervous or tense in anticipation of the scenario, or phone call

Physical Symptoms of Phone Anxiousness

With almost all cases of anxiety, comes physical symptoms and reactions to the fears associated with making and receiving phone calls. These symptoms can be present before, during, or after the phone call. Some of these physical symptoms may include, but are not limited to:

  • Shaking
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Flustered thoughts
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscular tension
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent urination of diarrhea

Common Reasons & Examples of Phone Anxiety

Whether you are dealing with a generalized fear of the phone or a specific conversation that is to be had over the phone, there are all sorts of reasons why people develop feelings of stress and anxiety with regards to phone calls. Some common reasons and examples why people may experience anxiousness in these situations might include:

  • Relationship phone call
    • Worried that your relationship is on the rocks and you are waiting to hear back from your partner about the future of the relationship
    • If seeking a relationship, waiting for the potential partner to call you back
    • Waiting to have a much anticipated conversation with a friend who you had a disagreement with
  • Business phone call
    • Awaiting confirmation for a deal to go through
    • Asking for a promotion or raise
    • Getting in trouble at work, putting your job at risk; which affects both you and your family’s future
  • Self concerns
    • Phone calls from your doctor or medical practitioner who may be reaching out in regards to a medical concern
    • Waiting to hear back from your attorney about a specific legal situation
    • Worried about talking to your auto insurance about a recent car accident

Telephonophobia Complications

If your phone anxiety is not identified and managed, further mental health issues are at stake. For example, if you persistently avoid phone calls and conversations that are crucial to your livelihood and interpersonal relationships you may suffer the consequences. Some of these consequences could include:

  • Loss of job
  • Broken relationships
    • Spouse or partner
    • Friendship
    • Family members
  • Your health
    • If you avoid important medical phone calls, your health could suffer

When these types of losses become present in our lives, potential serious mental health concerns could be at risk for the future. Some of these possible mental health issues include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety Attacks
  • Future relationship issues
  • Addiction
  • Eating Disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Suicide

How to Get Over Your Phone Phobia

Dealing with phone anxiety, and social anxieties in general, may not be easy, but it is important to find healthy ways to cope for both your mental and physical health. Try out some of these tips to help get over your worries and fears surrounding making, receiving, and conversing with others during phone calls and other social interactions….

  1. Smile before making or taking a phone call
  2. Relax and be yourself while making conversation
  3. Write out a few of your important ideas and points that you want to express in an effort to feel prepared and organized
  4. Give yourself something to look forward to after the phone call or interaction is over (favorite food, bath, massage, favorite movie)
  5. Give yourself permission to not answer the phone call if you are feeling too anxious or unprepared
  6. Take deep, conscious breaths before answering or entering a conversation to help feel level-headed, focused, and confident

Resources:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/anxiety-disorders-and-anxiety-attacks.htm

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