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, social gatherings, etc., but what if technology is the leading cause of that overload of worrisome factors that 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 of how much fun it is to browse through our friends’ posts or laugh at that funny YouTube video, the truth is, all that time spent on social media is time lost in terms of working habits.
Postponing Pending Work
How many times have we delayed a deadline due to not having enough time to cope with endless responsibilities? Many people can relate to this syndrome and even think of all the creative excuses they may have used: illnesses, personal issues, children-related excuses, and so many other “clever solutions” for denying what was obvious: the work wasn’t done because we didn’t set enough time aside to finish it.
15 years ago we could blame a trendy soap opera or a football match for delaying the work we do, however, technology has become the prime example of how lifestyle improvements can work both ways: technology can help us to get the job done faster or postpone us for an incredible amount of time.
By acknowledging the amount of time spent on social media, we are taking a first step towards increasing our productivity. Unless your job requires you to interact with social media, this is wasted energy that will amount to stress if you don’t manage your time effectively.
Many individuals try and compare themselves to their friends’ lives. If we add to the mix the fact that social media has now opened the gates to a whole new group of “friends” – which to some extent is true given the amount of information we exchange with these virtual acquaintances – then social standards are set much higher than what it used to be.
People don’t want to seem “boring” in comparison with their friends who hop from plane to plane due to an exciting job, have enough money to take 2-3 months of vacation each year, or buy the latest BMW SUV that was released last month. The reality is that a lot of social users portray a status they might not even have. Don’t accept everything you see on 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 such as with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. There is 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”. The truth is people are prone to suffer from conditions like the former due to FOMO (fear of missing out).
Even interacting with and growing a pool of “friends” online seems to be the perfect scenario to blame our lack of social skills; facts show us that we are masquerading a condition by living in denial: since I can interact with people online, I have no social disorders.
Psychologists may agree that the growing trend of people seeking medical help may be due to our current generation. Maybe it’s time to log off online and log into the offline world more.
The Endgame of Stress
Did you know stress is the main cause of a long list of life-threatening conditions if not taken seriously? From anxiety attacks to chronic conditions such as gastritis, heart diseases, diabetes, and depression, the list covers almost every single aspect of life quality.
Why does stress trigger such a mess in our lives? Hormonal imbalance produced by stressful conditions triggers the massive production of cortisol – known as the “stress hormone” – which automatically leads to sleep disruption, elevated blood pressure, weight gain, hyperglycemia, 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 get back to 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 amount of time spent on social media, then you are healed. Just like with all addictions, social media addiction will require time for the person to heal and adapt to normal social conduct: perseverance is key, and nothing should matter more than our personal happiness. Good luck!