Texting anxiety is when you experience distress while waiting for a reply from a text or if you got a text message that you found alarming. You cannot hear the tone of voice or see the person’s face in a text message which can make it easy to misinterpret them. By understanding the science behind texting anxiety, you will understand how normal it is to feel stress when texting and what to do about it.

A Study Behind Texting Anxiety

A 2017 study by Asurion says that the average American cannot go more than 12 minutes without reaching for their phone. Out of the 2,000 participants in the study, 10% of them could not go without their phone for four minutes which is 15 times an hour. The ones who were willing to be without their phones for four hours were not happy about it. 60% reported occasional waves of uneasiness and 31% of constant anxiety when they did not have their phone. 

The Science Behind Texting Anxiety

We tend to feel a dopamine rush when we get a text from someone we are attracted to or get sent a funny meme. The feelings of anxiety, however, tend to come when we feel pressured to reply to a text right away or waiting for a response if you see a reading receipt. The brain is more active when it is anticipating something. Wanting someone to reply will make you want them to reply more and not knowing the response you will get will make it hard to stop thinking about it. It is easy to assume the worst if it shows someone read your text message and is not responding to you.

What to Do About Texting Anxiety

If you are experiencing texting anxiety, it is important to establish boundaries with the person you are experiencing this anxiety with. This can mean telling that person to save big conversations for the phone or in-person to avoid any misinterpretation. If you feel like you want that person to give you an explanation of why they are not responding to you right away, have that person tell you what their work hours are. Do not be so quick to jump to conclusions or you can lose an important relationship. Speak to your loved ones in person or through a phone call if there are any questions about a text message or responding issue.

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