So­cial Me­dia Anx­i­ety

Sun Star Bacolod - - ‘Yuhom! -

If some­one dares you to de­ac­ti­vate all your so­cial me­dia ac­counts for a month, would you be able to do it?

In an age where in­ter­net has be­come one of the most ba­sic hu­man ne­ces­si­ties, so­cial me­dia has in­fil­trated ev­ery as­pect of hu­man life in un­be­liev­able ways. Its in­flu­ence over eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal are­nas can­not be dis­counted. But its power is mostly on how it can pen­e­trate hu­man psy­che, emo­tions, and de­ci­sions.

Peo­ple can be happy just a few min­utes ago only to be­come ter­ri­bly up­set be­cause it’s been 5 min­utes al­ready and no­body still liked their photos!

Fin­gers swipe through news feeds so fast and peo­ple feel like com­plete losers for not be­ing able to look as good as the oth­ers, not be­ing able to travel as lux­u­ri­ously as an­other, or not have the achieve­ments oth­ers are proudly cap­tion­ing as “blessed!”

When your emo­tional state is con­stantly in­flu­enced by so­cial me­dia and your ac­tions start to be­come de­pen­dent on them, you may al­ready be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing so­cial me­dia anx­i­ety.

So­cial me­dia anx­i­ety has been de­scribed by the Anx­i­ety and De­pres­sion As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica (ADAA) as a men­tal health con­di­tion sim­i­lar to that of so­cial anx­i­ety dis­or­der wherein a per­son ex­pe­ri­ences “in­tense anx­i­ety or fear of be­ing judged, neg­a­tively eval­u­ated, or re­jected in a so­cial or per­for­mance sit­u­a­tion.”

Un­der this con­di­tion, peo­ple be­come con­stantly wor­ried about be­ing viewed as stupid, awk­ward, or bor­ing, so they avoid ac­tual in­ter­ac­tions. Be­cause of this dis­tress, they may ex­pe­ri­ence rapid heart rate, heavy sweat­ing, nau­sea, headaches, or full-blown anx­i­ety at­tacks. Need­less to say, many ir­ra­tional de­ci­sions are made un­der these cir­cum­stances.

In her ar­ti­cle “So­cial Me­dia Ob­ses­sion and Anx­i­ety”, Founder and CEO of Stigma Fight­ers Sarah Fader re­veals in de­tails the phe­nom­e­non of so­cial me­dia anx­i­ety wherein the most com­mon symp­toms are:

In­ter­rupt­ing con­ver­sa­tions to check your so­cial me­dia ac­counts

Ly­ing to oth­ers about how much time you spend on so­cial me­dia

With­drawal from friends and fam­ily

Try­ing to stop or re­duce your use of so­cial me­dia more than once be­fore with­out be­ing suc­cess­ful Loss of in­ter­est in other ac­tiv­i­ties

Ne­glect­ing work or school to com­ment on Face­book or Twit­ter ac­count

Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing with­drawal symp­toms when you are not able to ac­cess so­cial me­dia

Spend­ing over six hours per day on so­cial net­work­ing sites like Face­book, Twit­ter, or In­sta­gram

Over­whelm­ing need to share things with oth­ers on so­cial me­dia sites

Hav­ing your phone with you 24 hours a day to check your so­cial me­dia sites

Us­ing so­cial me­dia more of­ten than you planned Se­vere ner­vous­ness or anx­i­ety when you are not able to check your no­ti­fi­ca­tions

Neg­a­tive im­pacts in your per­sonal or pro­fes­sional life due to so­cial me­dia us­age

Ac­cord­ing to Fader, tests have shown that ob­ses­sive use of so­cial me­dia can cause de­pres­sion, at­ten­tion deficit hyper­ac­tiv­ity dis­or­der (ADHD), im­pul­sive dis­or­der, prob­lems with men­tal func­tion­ing, para­noia, and lone­li­ness. The com­par­i­son of one’s life over some­one else’s look­ing so “per­fect”, can drive oth­ers to feel in­tense jeal­ousy, de­pres­sion, or even sui­ci­dal thoughts. The loss of pri­vacy and the pres­sure of keep­ing up a good pro­file are pres­sures that can be too great for a per­son’s emo­tional well-be­ing.

Which is why she asks that if peo­ple want their lives to be as awe­some as the peo­ple they see on­line, they have to get out and en­joy real life, not the so­cial me­dia “life.”

If you find this hard to do, just start by talk­ing to some­one as there are al­ways peo­ple around who can help. Coun­selors or ther­a­pists can help you with this ad­just­ment, so can join­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions and of­fer­ing your ser­vices for com­mu­nity work.

So­cial me­dia are not all bad but we must al­ways re­mem­ber what these plat­forms are for.

They’re but a few of the ways we can make con­nec­tions. They’re sup­posed to help us make bet­ter re­la­tion­ships. They’re not sup­posed to take the place of ac­tual hu­man in­ter­ac­tion. No “LOLS” can ever re­place the ring of a heart­felt laugh­ter. No emo­jis can ever re­late the wide ar­ray of emo­tions dis­played in a face to face con­ver­sa­tion. No news feed can ever be as ef­fec­tive as a book or an ed­u­ca­tional site with cred­i­ble sources and well-re­searched data.

When you start to feel com­fort­able with just post­ing your life story or send­ing mes­sages to your fam­ily and friends with­out see­ing them in per­son or re­ally be­ing with them, then it’s time to un­plug. Al­low your­self to log out of the cu­rated world of so­cial me­dia for a while and log in to re­al­ity.*


SO­CIAL me­dia are sup­posed to help re­la­tion­ships, and not to take the place of ac­tual hu­man in­ter­ac­tion.


CHECK­ING your phone con­stantly and feel­ing anx­ious when you can’t im­me­di­ately share on so­cial me­dia can dam­age re­la­tion­ships and pre­vent you from be­ing present in the mo­ment.


OB­SES­SIVE use of so­cial me­dia can cause of de­pres­sion, at­ten­tion deficit hyper­ac­tiv­ity dis­or­der (ADHD), im­pul­sive dis­or­der, prob­lems with men­tal func­tion­ing, para­noia, and lone­li­ness.


NO NEWS feed can ever be as ef­fec­tive as a book or an ed­u­ca­tional site with cred­i­ble sources and well-re­searched data.

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