Is Social Media Anxiety Real?
Most people who have social media accounts are able to check their notifications without feeling any form of anxiety. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that 20% of people with social media account cannot go more than three hours without checking them which can be a symptom of social media anxiety. It is important to limit the amount of screen time that you have on your electronic devices so that you do not miss out on real world experiences and people.
If you have social media anxiety, that can mean being away from any social media account such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other platform can bring about major anxiety. Symptoms can include being around your friends and family but interrupting them as soon as you get a notification on your phone from your social media account. If you are awaiting a reply from a comment you recently posted, you will be on full alert until you get another notification. Just like with any addiction, you could be experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you are not on your social media accounts. For example, your phone could have broken and you are waiting for a new one. You feel like your whole world has been caught off balance because you can only check your notifications if you are on your computer at home. This can include a fast heartbeat and shakiness as a result of this withdrawal.
Another way that you can have social media anxiety is if you have lost interest in other activities that you used to enjoy. Instead of wanting to go on adventures or explore your surroundings, you are too glued to your social media accounts to experience anything. You are more interested in commenting on other posts and exploring what your friends are doing than you being the one to have the experiences. Or you could be having experiences but are more concerned of taking post-worthy snapshots than actually enjoying yourself.
You could also be neglecting your school work or your job as a result of your social media anxiety. You may have gotten in trouble before at work or school for looking on your phone instead of paying attention to your duties. Those things that used to be important to you like getting good grades or being successful in your career no longer matter to you. Spending over six hours a day on social media accounts is enough evidence to conclude you have social media anxiety. The need to share things with others online instead of in person becomes overwhelming. You may feel like something has not happened to you until it has been posted. Seeing friends in person or giving them a call is not as interesting as talking to them online.
There are physical risks to have social media anxiety. This may include having eye strain as a result at staring too closely and longingly at your screen. It can also mean neck pain and lower back pain from looking down on your phone. Spending too much time sitting down to look at your social media can cause obesity, nutrition problems, heart disease, and a risk of stroke. There are also mental health issues that can come about such as experiencing loneliness, paranoia, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. You could be too busy comparing your life to other people’s thinking that everyone else has it easier than you. You could also be experiencing jealous or feelings of suicide for things not being perfect for you compared to others. It is important to realize that people will post only the best parts of their day on social media and not depress people with the hard parts. What you can be seeing is just a small portion in the day of their lives and to not let it get to you.
The attachment that you have to your social media accounts are not worth losing control of your mental health. There are ways to still keep in touch on your social media accounts without missing out on life experiences. You should balance the time that you spend on social media with time you spend in the real world. You can tell yourself in the mornings and afternoons that you will stay away from social media only to update your posts at night. That way, you can enjoy your life when your awake and then share how your day went before you go to sleep. Look at your phone’s settings for the amount of screen time that you have had daily and weekly. You may be surprised by the results and realize that you need to cut down.
Your connections may have decreased over the years because of your social media usage. Try looking for meet-ups that share the same interests as you. This will help you expand your social circle and make lasting memories that are too precious to post online. Do not rely on social media as your only means of communication. Remember how nice it feels to receive a hug or listen to the sound of your loved one’s voice. Really linger on those qualities that your loved one exhibits the next time and really appreciate what they can give you that you cannot receive online. Do not let the only time in the real world be able experiencing your anxiety symptoms but to enjoy life outside of social media.