Is social media stressing you out? Do you feel a sudden burst of anxiety when browsing through your Instagram feed? You are not alone. Scrolling for hours on social media platforms can leave people feeling jealous, overwhelmed, stressed, and generally downbeat.
While one cannot deny the upsides of today’s interconnectedness, there’s a dark side to the shiny, lit-up world that exists beneath the smooth and polished screens of our smartphones. This ugly underbelly of social media is one of the reasons why some of us feel like they’re always living on the edge.
Here are a few signs that your social media usage is making you feel anxious:
#1: You compare everything and anything
How many times have you scrolled through your Instagram feed and berated yourself for not having the discipline to get the same body like that of your favorite fitness blogger? That too while knowing that while that influencer earns a living by displaying their abs, you work your socks off sitting in an office chair.
This comparison forces us to ignore the good things that surround us and fixate our attention on everything wrong in our lives. We fail to recognize that just like you, that person whose starry-eyed photo you’re seeing on Facebook also has a life that is full of ups and downs.
Just because they only broadcast the ups in their lives doesn’t mean everything is hunky-dory in the lives of the celebrity you’re following on Twitter. You need to remind yourself that social media is a highlight reel of good things in our lives and not a realistic depiction of what our life actually is.
#2: You have become irritable and self-critical
Do you have self-effacing thoughts after spending a few minutes on social media? Is your mood better on days during which you have no time to log into Facebook? Then there’s an excellent chance that it’s your ‘’wall’’ or ‘’feed’’, and not something in your personality, that is the cause of your irritable behavior.
Provided you’re feeling any of the abovementioned symptoms, immediately log out. While it’s easier said than done, forcing yourself away from your smartphone and putting it on the charging table will let you spend quality time with your loved ones, friends, and family.
Research tells us that our mind (as well as our mood) becomes refreshed when we spend time talking to people around us. For this reason, unless you’re using social media to perform your job-related functions, it would be best if you take some time off it.
#3: Your relationships are going downhill
Are you finding it difficult to talk to that cousin who expressed political views different from those of yours on their wall? Frequently find yourself thinking less of your friends and family because of the judgmental statements they post on Twitter?
Then it’s time you talk to that person in real life and see all your misgivings about them evaporate in thin air. Even if you don’t agree with some of the things they believe in, that doesn’t mean that there is no likable thing at all in that person’s personality.
Especially if that person is in your closer circle, you can enjoy their company by sidestepping their comments on social media platforms and focusing on the nice things they have to say when you’re talking to them in real life.
#4: You no longer find social engagements interesting
According to research, excessive social media use can increase narcissism and lower the quality of our lives by decreasing the importance of real-life community engagement. Put simply, if you always feel that social gatherings are a waste of time – and that you’d be better off spending your time on your own, then it’s time to encapsulate your smartphone in a phone charging locker.