Is Social Media Adding To Your Anxitey?Jason Firmager
Most of us these days are on at least platform of social media, where we write about how we’re feeling, vent our frustrations, post questions to our friends, and upload photos. Some even go so far as to upload photos of their current meal! It lets us feel connected to the outside world, and has done a lot to alleviate loneliness in people who may otherwise feel completely isolated.
However, for all the positive aspects of connecting on social media networks, there is potentially a downside to people who are prone to anxiety. Anxiety creates insecurity and self-doubt, and while it can be great to get the support of your social media friends, for some it can take just one negative comment to a post or tweet, or a lack of “likes” for your latest post or share, and the self-doubt inner talk can be amplified. People already suffering from anxiety may also feel that everyone else has got it right because others have more post likes, or more favourable responses, so their posts must be worthless. This is called black and white thinking. There is no rationale with anxiety, the brain will simply follow a repeated pattern of response, and build on that to reinforce it every time the familiar feelings of anxiety creep in.
If you’re someone who tends to feel anxious a lot of the time, why not use social media to your advantage? Join groups who support and offer information on anxiety, set up your own group and invite others to join, but give yourself specific times to check in to your favourite social media platform, using it as recreation rather than an anxiety trigger. If you repeatedly check your device to see who has responded, you’re buying into the world of not living in the here and now. I’ve been guilty of this in the past, and suddenly realised one day that between constantly checking my social media account I had completely lost sight of what was going on my real, here and now life. It was a wakeup call that I had to respond to pretty quickly, or become a cyber space slave. I suspect many of you reading this have heard of Mindfulness, which is simply living in the moment, and paying attention to it. It takes some practice, but try it – set yourself times for checking your phone or whatever device you love best, and times for just being in the here and now, and notice one thing, maybe just your breathing to start with. (Switch your ‘phone or laptop off during this time – go on, you can do it!) Remember, you are more than an extension of an electronic device that leads into cyber space!
Thank you for reading this blog – look out for more to come!
Lynda Roberts is an established Hypnotherapist and Trainer, using psychotherapy and hypnotherapytechniques to help clients change their lives for the better. www.hypnotherapysoutheast.co.uk