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  • Writer's picturePatti Hayes

Social Media Can Indeed Have A Significant Impact On Stress And Anxiety

Social Media Can Indeed Have A Significant Impact On Stress And Anxiety
Social Media Can Indeed Have A Significant Impact On Stress And Anxiety

Social Media can indeed have a significant impact on stress and anxiety levels for many people. The constant exposure to curated images, comparisons, negative news and even cyberbullying can contribute to feelings of inadequacy, fear of missing out and anxiety leading to incredible stress. To many, the pull look at Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest etc. over and over again is compulsive.

We know it's compulsive but feel totally helpless to moderate usage and to focus on more healthy pursuits.

FOMO or Fear of Missing Out is actually a common phenomenon in today's digital age. It refers to anxiety or apprehension that one might feel when they believe others are having rewarding experiences that they, themselves are absent from. The truth is, people often share just the best parts of their lives or embellish it. This can create a false sense reality.

Comparing oneself to celebrities or sports stars can lead to feelings of inadequacy or envy, especially when it seems like they have such a great life. The reality is they are all just people too. They have all the feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, boredom and sorrows just anyone else.

All of us derive security and comfort from the imaginary world of social media, memories, fantasies and plans. We really don't want to stay with the nakedness of our present experience.

Some steps you can take to manage the impact of social media and brain/time drain has on your actual life are:

  1. Limit your usage: Set boundaries for yourself regarding how much time you spend checked out of your life. Putting your phone in another room for longer and longer periods throughout the day will feel very strange and that is the feeling of compulsion pulling you to (Check Out) of your normal life because you are uncomfortable with reality. We will talk more about "Learning to Stay" in future blogs.

  2. Curate your feed: Unfollow accounts that make you feel inadequate or stressed. That will feel hard because, its like turning away from a "train wreck". You will feel relieved when they disappear from your feed. Really!

  3. Practice Mindfulness: Start noticing how certain content makes you feel. Do you tense up? Get angry? Get sad? Feel envious? Feel your Blood Pressure Elevate? Being aware of what you are viewing and the impact it has on your mental and physical health is a great start to making much better choices.

  4. My favorite step is to Engage in real-life connections: Instead of relying solely on social media for social interaction, prioritize spending time with friends and family in person. Get to know your loved ones better. Do healthy, positive things together like making a meal, cleaning the yard or just taking a walk and enjoying your surroundings.

  5. Practice Gratitude: Focus on positive aspects of your own life rather than comparing yourself to others. Keep a gratitude journal to remind yourself what you are thankful for.

  6. You may feel an elevation in stress or anxiety when you distance yourself from social media. You have relied on it to distract you for many hours of your day. That is normal. Whenever you feel like you want to "wander off", practice STAYING. The uneasy feeling will slowly dissipate. Really :) Put on some music, write in your journal and engage in your real, sometimes messy life. You will be creating "space" to work on things in your life that need attending to. You will be able to create a plan and move forward much more at Peace. Trust me. You Got This!

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