Does Social Media Make Anxiety Worse?

Social media – we’re all doing it. From Facebook to Instagram to those of us still pining for the glory that once was Myspace, we are addicted to online networking. Of course, this has many advantages – for me I have built a business online which has allowed me the freedom to work from home around my family, but even more so was whilst I was living abroad was the all important connection social media provided me to my friends and family even when oceans separated us. It gave us a chance to talk about news and events and see what’s going on in each other’s lives through photos and videos.

But how does it look in other areas, anxiety for instance?

Social media has the potential to influence anxiety in a negative way. The reasons for this include:

It perpetuates a need to compete with the Joneses

There is real life and then there is what most people put on Facebook. Because social media is really little more than a highlight reel of our existence, it only focuses on the good. This is something that can make us feel as if we’re not measuring up: everyone’s lives are more exciting, everyone’s marriages are more stable, and everyone’s homes are always, always worlds cleaner.

It makes us feel left out of things

Social media – though it is connective in nature – can also leave us feeling isolated. When all of our friends post pictures of happy hour, we wonder why we weren’t invited. And then we start overinflating our flaws.

It set the stage for cyberbullying

Unfortunately, bullying isn’t just a kid thing – adults do it too. The Internet, because it offers a sense of safety in the form of anonymity, tends to bring out the bullies. This is especially true with such a politically tense environment. No matter what you say, somewhere some dickhead hiding behind their keyboard will try to put you in your place.

It can lead to a less than healthy lifestyle

Social media is fantastic for healthy inspiration and to connect with people who can help us improve our health but it can also take our anxiety up a notch by making it our focus: we’re too busy on Snapchat to cook a healthy dinner or too busy Instagramming to exercise (no, typing doesn’t count). We let our chores and hobbies and work take a backseat in favour of playing the latest game or Facestalking your ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.

None of the above is to say we need to ax Apple and forgo Facebook altogether, but it’s important to find balance. If you talk mainly in hashtags and emojis and find your stress level increases with every like you don’t receive, then it is definitely time to take a break.

MEET KAREN

Hiya, I’m Karen, energy therapist and mind body expert for dynamic and ambitious women who are struggling with anxiety. I help them to get to the root cause of their anxiety so they can take back control other thoughts and be the calm and confident woman they want to be.
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