If you frequently feel anxious, stressed, sad, angry, or overwhelmed, it’s essential to identify the source of these emotions. Can you pinpoint a specific circumstance or situation that explains why you feel this way? If not, it’s possible that spending too much time on social media could be contributing to these negative emotions. Anxiety, depression, and other unhealthy feelings are often linked to excessive social media use, so it’s worth considering whether this could be a factor in your emotional state.
Years ago, I wrote a blog about limiting our exposure to negativity on social media. Little did I know then just how much more junk would be “coming down the pike.”
Social media is here to stay
There are currently more than 20 social networks operating worldwide. However, it should come as no surprise that Facebook dominates the market. Initially created as a platform for college students to connect, it has since grown into one of the largest social networks in the world.
According to statistics, an average Facebook user has 338 friends. This implies that your newsfeed has the potential to receive contributions from at least 338 sources, including any comments posted by them. On top of that, other unwanted Facebook pages push their content on your newsfeed, along with numerous platforms you have access to. All of this combined results in an overwhelming amount of information to process.
The good, the bad, and the ugly of social media
As humans, we are social beings and require the companionship of others to flourish in life. Social media has the potential to broaden our circle of connections significantly. It offers us the chance to feel more linked, supported, and engaged, which can alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as prevent loneliness and improve self-esteem. These are only some of the many advantages that social media can provide.
As we scroll through our social media feeds to keep up with loved ones, we sometimes stumble upon content we did not expect to see. While we may come across interesting and helpful content such as educational articles, inspiring stories, recipes, and funny memes, social media platforms can also be a source of disturbing, shocking, angering, and other types of unpleasant information.
Have you ever noticed how often you come across posts, articles, or videos on social media that leave you feeling upset or negative in some way? Even if you’re taking a quick break, it’s easy to stumble upon content that makes you feel sad, angry, anxious, or inferior. For example, you might be watching a cute video of your friend’s child dancing, but the next thing you see in your newsfeed could instantly ruin your mood.
Subjects leading to anxiety, depression, and unhealthy feelings
Here’s a list of the types of posts that I’m talking about that have the potential of turning any warm and fuzzy feelings you might have been feeling into hot and bothered emotions:
- Politics, Politics, and MORE Politics
- Multiple warnings of how to recognize the signs of various cancers or other life-threatening diseases
- Sensationalized “news” stories
- Civil unrest
- Opinions, OPINIONS, OPINIONS!
Do you recognize any of these hot-button topics? Can we all agree that each subject has the potential to evoke an emotional response? If you don’t think so, look at some threads that follow such posts to know this is true.
Social media and secondhand stress
Social media, especially Facebook, can inform people about sad or traumatic events happening in the lives of others. This includes not just close friends and family but even strangers whom we may never meet. However, this can often cause an increase in stress for many people. It’s a well-known psychological fact that stress is contagious; the anxiety and sadness of others can affect our own emotions, even if we are not directly involved in the situation. Here are a few examples:
- Devastation worldwide by natural disasters
- GoFundMe pages for people you don’t know who are going through traumatic situations.
- Missing or abused animals
Have you ever considered how much time you spend on social media and how it affects your emotions? If reading this blog has made you realize that the daily influx of stressful posts could be the cause of your anxiety, depression, or other unhealthy feelings? I suggest you stay logged off for more extended periods to reduce your exposure to unnecessary and unwanted stress.
“When your mental health becomes impacted by social media, then it is time for a detox.” ― Germany Kent
Suppose you’ve been feeling any of the emotions mentioned at the beginning of this blog. In that case, it’s essential to determine the cause of your emotional distress and take action to address it. Working with a coach is an effective way to explore your emotions and learn coping strategies.
This article originally appeared on Counseling Solutions Of West Michigan.