Have you ever been minding your own business, only to feel your smartphone vibrate in your pocket? Could it be a text message, phone call or email? Nope, just nothing – you’re not the only one…
Thanks to a recent survey by the Georgia Institute of Technology, it’s been found that approximately 9/10 of us suffer from Phantom Vibration Syndrome, which basically means we feel our phones vibrate in the pelvic area when they’re really just sat there doing nothing.
According to Dr Robert Rosenberger, who worked within the survey, it seems that the syndrome is due to something called learned bodily habits. These make us think that our smartphones are basically an extra appendage to our body, something which happens when we use something very regularly.
A similar circumstance takes place with things like glasses, we adapt to them so much that we genuinely forget that they are an accessory we’re wearing.
A problem known as Phantom Limb Syndrome is also a similar occurrence, and works in the same way. When someone has a limb removed, it’s common for the person to still feel sensation from the missing body part as our body is used to having it there, and nerve endings then tell the brain that it can feel things like pain and irritation despite the limb not being there.
Whilst this certainly doesn’t mean that our phones are now an extra limb, our bodies are essentially beginning to see them that way…
Is Phantom Vibration Syndrome linked to our over-reliance on smartphones? Take a look to see if you're a smartphone addict here...
Is there a cure - Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to test whether you actually have the issue or not, it’s likely that simply by reading this that you’ve experienced PVS in some form already. However, it has been linked to anxiety to constantly check our smartphones, see treatments for the syndrome.
To help reduce Phantom Vibration Syndrome, there are some tips and tricks which you can do:
The first is to ensure that you keep your phone out of your pocket, if your body doesn’t adapt to your phone being there, it can’t build and connection with its vibration being felt on your leg – which is the most common variant of PVS.
Also, having increased breaks from your phone can prove a good remedy, with many recommendations pointing toward taking 10 minutes every few hours for a relaxing activity without checking your phone.
These can include going for a walk, getting other forms of exercise or meditation, although anything which disconnects you from your phone is suitable.
Finally, scheduling your smartphone time is a more drastic approach to curbing your smartphone addiction, which should decrease PVS. Normally, once every 15 minutes should be a good starting point, but extending this to 30 mins or more could be another good step following this.
A tip for keeping high priority contacts in the loop is by setting a ringtone with them that allows you to supersede your schedule.
Written by Luke Hatfield