Social Media and Social Anxiety

By Skye Littlefield, Social Specialist at Hoorah Digital

Without a doubt, social media has contributed to a society of nervous, fidgety, and anxious people. A society of people who wake up, pick up their phones and don’t put them down for the next 16 hours. We no longer know what impulse control is and, even worse, we no longer care about the time we spend staring into our phones while we’re missing out on real life.

Obsessive use of social media

Driving to work? “I’ve got Twitter to keep me company.” Sunday lunch with the family? “It didn’t happen if I didn’t ‘Gram’ it.”

I understand that phones are now an innate part of our society; I would even go as far as to say that phones are almost a part of our bodies. We feel a constant need to use these devices to both keep people up to date on our lives and also catch up on theirs.

This obsessive use of social media quite obviously causes anxiety, but can also lead to depression, ADHD, and loneliness. When we break it down it’s easy to see that we’re actually dealing with an impulse control disorder, and it’s becoming almost impossible for people to physically resist picking up their phones and opening Instagram. We already know that it’s unhealthy to compare our everyday lives to the seemingly perfect lives of people on Instagram. We already know that all we’re doing is piling on added feelings of worthlessness and loneliness.

But, do we care?

Tips to help you limit your time on social media

How do we fix ourselves? Just Google it. Kidding.

Start off by remembering that everyone is living similar lives, but people are only posting the good stuff online. No one wants to see images of traffic or dirty dishes, but rest assured, everyone is doing laundry too. It becomes easier to accept that social media is not a competition when you realise that every Instagrammer out there has bills to pay, occasionally argues with their significant other, and probably has a full-time job.

Smartphones nowadays are equipped with the ability to limit the time spent on certain apps. If your phone allows it, set timers to control your social media usage. Challenge yourself to only spend an hour on Instagram today. Also, delete your social apps from your phone. If you can’t bring yourself to do this just yet, then hide them in folders so it requires more effort for you to access them. This small change in habit will lead to bigger changes.

Lastly, fill your time with healthier habits. Yeah, this is easier said than done, but all it takes is some determination. If you’d rather be spending your time reading a book, download the Kindle app on your phone and start there. You’ve still got your hands on a cellphone, but you’re growing your vocabulary and knowledge instead of dealing with feelings of insignificance while scrolling Instagram.

Making small changes like these can lead to less anxiety, better feelings of wellbeing, and an all-around better outlook on life.

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