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Why Social Media Stress and Anxiety Runs Rampant, And How Therapy Can Help

Why Social Media Stress and Anxiety Runs Rampant, And How Therapy Can Help


It’s not too much of an unpopular opinion to say that social media is a double-edged sword. It can connect us all, which is good during a pandemic, and it can help us meet new people we could have never met before. However, there have been recent studies revealing that social media can cause several issues when not used correctly, including stress and anxiety.

In this post, we’ll look at some reasons social media may cause you anxiety and stress, and what to do about it.

Why it Makes You Anxious and Stressed

Like all technology, social media is beneficial, but can make you feel stressed in several ways.

Fear of Missing Out

Let’s begin by discussing the fear of missing out, or FOMO.

FOMO is when you fear you may miss something. Sometimes, you may refresh social media, believing that you may miss an event. Other times, there may be a hot piece of tech that everyone has, but you can’t due to money or another reason.

Many people will use FOMO as a marketing tactic, which can make it worse when you see ads on social media.

Solution

Treating FOMO can involve changing your mindset entirely. You will need to learn how to be more mindful of your social media usage, and you’ll need to practice gratitude. Be happy for what you have.

This isn’t to say you can’t be curious about the latest happenings, but you shouldn’t let it ruin your life. Step back if you feel your FOMO is taking over.

You Feel Everyone Has it Better

With social media, people pick and choose what they want to broadcast on there. Some people will spew everything in a stream of conscious manner, but others are a bit more mindful. They’ll only post the best parts of their lives, from their vacations to how happy they are in their relationships.

You may end up comparing yourself to them. Everyone may be getting married and getting good jobs, while you're still single or working a dead-end job.

Solution

First, recognize these posts are carefully selected. The relationship may look good, but there may be issues the couple isn’t broadcasting. Also, the person who has a good job may not be talking about the drawbacks. In some cases, you may want to mute or unfollow people who make you feel this way, even if you have no personal issues with them.

On the other hand, some people may use other’s lives as a way to improve their own. If you’re not like this, you may want to change your way of thinking around.

Other People’s Anxieties and Stresses Rub Off on You

If you're a highly empathetic person, you may have an issue with keeping up with people whose lives are constant stress and misfortune. You may feel their issues rubbing off onto you, especially if there’s no way that you can help the person who is suffering.

Solution

Remember that taking care of your mental health is important. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break from others. If you can help the person, then try that.

However, it’s important to realize that you can’t help everyone, and that helping yourself is not inherently selfish.

The State of the World

Social media has made us aware of many different issues going on in the world. In many cases, being aware of what’s going around you is a good thing, but there’s such a thing as information overload.

Not to mention, politics on social media can be stressful. Few people are willing to have a real discussion, and it can be stressful seeing people you respect spout vile opinions on social media.

Solution

Consume more positive news to help you maintain a more optimistic outlook.

As for politics, they are important. However, it’s also okay for you to want to take a break from them. Especially social media politics.

Social Media Makes it Difficult to Unwind

Another reason why social media is bad for one’s mental health is because of how addictive it is. Every like that you get or comment you receive makes you want to check it. This can make it difficult to unwind.

In some cases, it may keep you up at night and make your sleep worse, which can make your stress and anxiety even worse.

Solution

Try to limit your time on social media. Install apps to make it much easier for you to limit how much time you use on it.

Quality Over Quantity

There are many cases where social media can make us feel as though our relationships aren’t as fulfilling.

This is because we tend to think of everyone on Facebook as friends, when they are more like acquaintances.

Solution

Think about who is really a friend and who is an acquaintance. Then, spend more time talking to friends.

Response Stress

When you're talking to a potential date or even a friend, you may worry about how often they respond. If they read your message or don’t respond for a while, does it mean they dislike you?

Usually, that is not the case, but it’s easy for you to overthink things.

Solution

Some people get busy, or they have an off day. Don’t think too much of it if you don’t get a message back right away.

Between Quitting it and Staying on it

Another reason social media is so stressful is because it’s hard for you to quit it.

In fact, “Just quit” isn’t the solution. You may have a brand you need to maintain. Not to mention, meeting and keeping in touch with new people is very positive for your mental health. It’s more than just looking at old friends’ pets and kids.

Solution

Once again, moderation is key. Keep track of how often you are on social media, and then start going on there less if you’re finding yourself on too much.

Seeking Therapy Can Be Helpful

For some, being stressed or anxious over social media sounds silly.

However, it’s an issue more common than you think. Because of this, there’s no shame in talking to a therapist about it and what you can do. Especially if you’ve tried to cut back on social media use and it doesn’t seem to work.

Websites such as BetterHelp.com are online therapy hubs that can make a difference. You can connect to a therapist who can help you to get to the bottom of your mental health issues. Sometimes, there may be some underlying reason why you may be feeling this way.

Social media does not have to be stressful. By being smart about it, you can thrive on it.

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