13 Things To Do On Your Phone When You're Feeling Anxious In Public

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Before you roll your eyes at this story, thinking it's yet another symptom of the supposed epidemic of millennials being glued to their phones, know this: Many people with social anxiety take refuge on their phones not because they’d rather be texting than engage with the world IRL, but because they’re anxious. And being on your phone is a socially acceptable way to disengage.
“My phone is my social crutch,” commented Carry K. in a post about nervous habits of people with social anxiety. “Any time I talk to someone I have to scroll through the nothingness on my phone. When I hang out with people, I avoid awkward silences by getting really interested in it.”
So if this is you, right now (Hey! We hope you’re okay. Thanks for reading.), we have some suggestions. It turns out that, instead of aimlessly scrolling through your Facebook or Twitter feed, there are some quick things you can do to help ground yourself and then eventually get back to where you are — hopefully feeling a little less anxious.
Ahead, some “productive” things you can do when you need to take a phone break in a social situation.
This story was originally published on The Mighty, a platform for people facing health challenges to share their stories and connect.