Social media is a platform for interaction, a virtual presentation of our life that seems to exist in them. When and how can they cause anxiety?
Sometimes our well-being and social media are somehow “linked by distance”. The distance between how you feel and what you share on social media can be a significant source of anxiety.
These platforms offer the possibility of almost instant gratification; this is a quick and effective dose of dopamine. However, as with any short-term pleasure, you have to keep coming back for more. This can become problematic quickly.
Social media gives everyone a fair chance to share content. Instead, you have to deal with invisible pressure to keep your content new and interesting. At the same time, motivating audience satisfaction leads to avoiding posting anything “boring” or “unpleasant”.
You have imaginary fans you want to please, which motivates you to create an alternate reality.
Well-being and Social Media: The Real Danger
Today, many people use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to connect with others. While they can be fun, it’s important to remember that social media is not a substitute for people-to-people contact in the real world.
You need human contact to release hormones that relieve stress and make you happier, healthier, and more positive. Too much time on social networks can exacerbate mental health problems like anxiety and depression.
The negative consequences of social media
You feel like your life is not good enough.
Even when you know that the images you see on social media don’t show the whole story, it’s easy to feel insecure.
The fear of missing something is FOMO.
FOMO existed even before the advent of social media, but Facebook and Instagram seem to fuel the notion that everyone else enjoys life more than you do. The thought that you are losing certain things can affect your self-esteem, make you anxious and further increase the amount of time you spend on social media.
- A study found that increased use of Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram makes people feel lonelier. On the other hand, limiting your use of social media can make you feel less lonely and less isolated. This improves overall well-being and satisfaction.
Depression and anxiety.
People need (and enjoy) face-to-face contact. There is nothing better for reducing stress and boosting your mood than spending time with someone you care about.
- About 10% of teenagers report that they have been bullied or harassed. In addition, a large number of users claim to be the target of offensive and rude comments.
Sharing selfies and intimate thoughts on it can lead to unhealthy self-centeredness. It can also distance you from creating positive relationships with others in the real world.
Social media can be problematic if it directly reduces the quality or frequency of face-to-face interactions. The same is true when they distract you from work, make you feel sad or jealous, or when you use it to make others envious.
If any of these things are true, it might be time to rethink how you use these platforms.
One of the most potentially problematic factors isn’t how often you post something, but how honest you are when you post something. Talking on social media about how happy you are when you are having difficulties can increase your anxiety.
Do you feel obligated to publish?
Most of us have a small, loyal audience on it. You probably only have an actual relationship with about 10% of the people who follow you (or the people you follow). Also, a very small percentage of people can get paid to be “influencers.”
In other words, there’s likely nothing to oblige you to share stuff on social media.
Being active in social media gives you the most satisfaction from sharing information and content on specific topics. The impact your content has often depended more on what your followers think of you than the actual message you share or how you share it
As we mentioned that social media is a platform where you can showcase all the best the funny, worst experiences, and moments in your personal and professional life. Rarely, though, being active on social media has any long-term positive effect on your well-being.
On the contrary, quite often you feel pressured to post content as if it were a pet that you need to feed. This type of pressure is problematic if it causes you anxiety.
Well-being and social media: an example based on the wedding day
Here is an example. Let’s take a man about to get married. He is excited about his wedding and can’t wait to share photos of the event. But when that day arrives, things start to go wrong. It is really hot, the bride and groom are arguing at the party, and the back pain even kills the groom.
Despite these minor setbacks, he probably still feels happy. Nevertheless, the fact is that this day is not what he expected. He doesn’t feel like sharing photos on social media but has a feeling that if he doesn’t, soon people will start asking questions and he’ll feel uncomfortable.
Ultimately, the person is throwing a Polaroid at a party where he looks happy and content. This is a hypothetical situation, but it happens in many different forms every day. You post things that represent emotions that you don’t feel.
Distrust and rejection
Do you want to have such a life based on well-being and social media? You can meet rejection and distrust if your identity diverges too far from your real you. Even so-called “influencers” cannot avoid this kind of suspicion from people in their circle, although they justify it by arguing that this is how they earn a living.
The gulf between what you think and feel and what you post on social media can cause significant psychological stress. It also has the potential to pathologize emotions, cognition, and behavior with long-term consequences.
We are not talking about abandoning it altogether. Instead, try to think about the benefits you will get from it. Does it do you more harm than good? Does it make you feel better or cause anxiety and self-image problems?
It is sure to stay with us, so remember that learning from them and getting to know yourself is an ongoing process. You are free to show who you really are, instead of inventing a false life to prove your worth.