Is Social Media the Cause of Chronic Stress?
We assume, as a widely spread fact, that adults are subject to stress anywhere they go: job, home, parties, social gatherings, etc., but what if technology is the leading cause of that overload of worrisome factors we come across every day?
Recent studies have shown a direct link between productivity performance struggles and abuse of social media usage among users worldwide, and regardless how much fun is to chill out a bit by looking at our friend’s posts or laughing over some cool YouTube video, truth is all that time spent on social media networks is time loss in terms of working habits.
Postponing Pending Work
How many times have we delayed a deadline due not having enough time to cope up with all the responsibilities we took? Many people can relate to this syndrome and even think of all the creative excuses they might have used: illnesses, personal issues, children seeking, and so many other “clever solutions” for denying what was obvious: work wasn’t done because you always found something else to do prior it.
15 years ago we could blame the trendy soap opera, or a football match as the cause of delaying the work to do, however, technology has become the prime exhibit on how lifestyle improvements can work both ways: they can help us to get job done faster, or to postpone it for an incredibly amount of time.
By acknowledging the time spent in social media entertainment, we are also taking the first step towards increasing our productivity, like that time – unless your job requires you to interact with social media – is wasted energy that will only sum up stress by the end of the day over the task not fulfilled.
A common excuse for people to avoid assessing their issues is to compare themselves with the lives their friends have. If we add to that mix the fact that social media has now opened the gates to a whole new bunch of “friends” – which to some extent is true given the amount of information we exchange with these virtual acquaintances – then the living standards are set much higher than what used to be.
People don’t want to seem “boring” in comparison with their friends who are hopping from plane to plane due having an exciting job, enough money to take 2-3 months of holidays each year, or buying the latest BMW SUV that was released last month. Reality may show us a different face of what’s going on behind curtains as people like to show off a status they might not even have. Don’t accept everything you see in social media as a fact, and if so, avoid comparing yourself and your lifestyle with other people’s lives: by doing so, you are just insulting your merits and potential.
Treating Mental Illnesses
Not every single mental illness is as easy to spot as what people tend to think is the case of schizophrenia or bipolar disorders, among a long list of mental health conditions that only keep increasing among the younger population. Social Anxiety is now a well-addressed condition that used to be camouflaged under the pretext of “shyness”, and truth is people are prone to suffer from conditions like the former due to the importance we grant what people may think our lives look like from afar.
Whereas the possibility of interacting through written means and growing a good pool of “friends” online seems to be the perfect scenario for blaming our lack of social skills in shyness, facts do tell we are only masquerading a condition by living in denial: since I can interact with people online, there’s nothing wrong with me.
Psychologists may agree in the growing trend of people seeking medical help after a long term of dealing with mental-related conditions as they didn’t grant the importance they required over time. Maybe it’s time to set some distance on what’s going on through the internet and put our mindset over the events of reality.
The Endgame of Stress
Even when our parents still consider stress as something that goes along the lines of overreacting, the truth is stress is the main cause of a long list of life-threatening conditions if not taken with the respect it deserves. From frightening anxiety attacks to chronic conditions as gastritis, heart diseases, diabetes and depression, the list goes a long way covering almost every single aspect of our life quality.
Why stress triggers such a mess in our life? Hormonal imbalance produced by stressful conditions trigger the massive production of cortisol – known as the “stress hormone” – which automatically leads to sleep disruption, elevated blood pressure, weight gain, hyperglycaemia and cognitive performance struggles; a cycle that keeps repeating over time unless we decide to take action.
Is there a positive outcome for this? Most certainly. Therapy groups have helped people to get back with their old, prior-stress, healthy lives, though it is a long road to travel. Don’t expect results overnight, and don’t fall under the pretext that just because you decided to cut the time spent on social media a couple of days ago, then you are healed. Just like with all the addictions, social media addiction will require a time span for the person to heal and adapt to a normal social conduct: perseverance is the key, and nothing should matter the most than our personal happiness. Good luck!