Modern life is unimaginable without telephones, both socially and professionally. Nevertheless, there is quite a number of people who hate talking on the phone and try to avoid it when possible. Some of them dread what they regard as the necessity of taking or making phone calls. This anxiety is dubbed telephone phobia, and it has taken its rightful place among various phobias ravaging the modern world. People who don’t think twice about meeting others face to face display a strange reluctance when they have to call them on the phone. This phobia has a wide range of severity and can be a drag on social life and professional career.
Reasons behind telephone phobia are manifold. There is the memory of hearing traumatic or depressing news over the phone in the past. People can resent their phone ringing when it is not convenient for them to take the call. Speaking on the phone you receive no collateral information like facial expressions and body language, it may put people out. Some get anxious lest they should forget, misconstrue or fail to put across important information. There are those who feel that the person on the other end may be menacing, and they can be subject to ridicule or mistreatment.
As a result, people begin to dither, stutter, and eventually fade away into silence.
Telephone phobia evinces roughly the same set of symptoms as other kids of phobia. Those who are telephone phobic overreact when their phone begins to ring and display anxiety. Symptoms embrace nervousness with the quickening of the pulse, breathlessness, sweaty palms, and dryness in the throat. In severe cases there are panic bouts. In some people the very thought of being rung up or having to ring up triggers off a neurotic reaction.
Whatever the reasons, telephone phobia impairs the smooth flow of life to a grave extent. Communication with relatives and friends gets erratic, business opportunities get irrevocably lost, important information gets delayed. Meanwhile, sufferers feel inferior because they see how well other people cope with what is a problem for them.
Can this anxiety be overcome? Here are five tips how you can take the matter in hand.
1. Psyche yourself up for short calls
While we are avoiding what we perceive to be unpleasant things our fear reigns strong. As we move in closer to the problem the fear weakens. Begin to acquire the habit with making a first tentative step. Choose a few people with whom you feel at ease and arrange with them to ring them up two or three times a day and have a short conversation. It will ease you into a habit, and you may be willing to prolong conversations, ask more questions and elicit information that will be of interest to you.
2. Smile when talking on the phone
Smiling chases away fear and brings on pleasant and enjoyable sensations. Set a jocose ringtone that will tune you up and brighten your spirits, so you will feel like smiling when you pick up the phone. It doesn’t matter if anyone sees you or not; people on the other end will sense that you are smiling and feeling fine.
3. Be relaxed
Turn off your cell phone when you find it inconvenient to receive calls and see if it helps you get rid of your anxiety. Lay back, close your eyes, breathe evenly and freely, feel your fear let go of you. Visualize the happy episodes from your past. When you’ve calmed yourself down enough turn on your phone and make a call while you are your natural self. Explain to yourself that you are quite comfortable speaking on the phone.
4. Think of a reward for difficult calls
Every time you have to make a call that promises to be problematic promise yourself a reward, a treat or a spell of self-laudatory indulgence. Spend some time humoring yourself after you’ve made the call. Mix unpleasant sensations with pleasant ones that will take off the edge of your nervousness.
5. Employ visualization
Train yourself by visualizing yourself handling phone conversations with grace and ease. Imagine yourself holding a successful conversation with people from your life, then whip out your phone and start calling people. Your telephone phobia is not so strong that you are unable to hold it in check and finally execute a derout.