Yes, Social Media Anxiety Disorder does exist. It seems that the more technology we acquire, the more stressed out we become. According to the experts, almost 20% of people with social media accounts cannot go more than three hours without checking them. That’s a lot of people.
So, what is social media anxiety disorder?
Most people who have social media accounts do not get nervous or stressed out when they are not able to check their notifications every five minutes. However, for those who have social media anxiety disorder, just being away from their Facebook or Twitter account for a few minutes can cause severe anxiety. Here are some of the most common symptoms of social media anxiety disorder:
- Interrupting the conversation to inform people that someone has commented on their latest Facebook page
- Excusing yourself in a social situation with family or friends to check what has been happening on Twitter
- Insistently being distracted for fear that individuals may be commenting on your Facebook or Twitter account and you might miss it.
- Randomly adding strangers to your Facebook or Twitter accounts
- Spending 8 or more hours a day on a social networking site
- Feeling a sense of attachment to your phone or computer, as if nothing else matters more
- Built up anxiety when comments are not made and pictures are not posted/tagged correctly
- Checking the number of followers on Twitter and constantly finding opportunities to increase these numbers
- Trying to stop or reduce your use of social media more than once before without being successful
- Loss of interest in other activities
- Neglecting work or school to comment on Facebook or Twitter account
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you are not able to access social media
- Spending over six hours per day on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
- Overwhelming need to share things with others on social media sites
- Having your phone with you 24 hours a day to check your social media sites
- Severe nervousness or anxiety when you are not able to check your notifications
Physical risks of Social Media Addiction
Spending too much time online has been proven to cause illnesses such as eye strain, neck pain, and lower back problems. In addition, always sitting and communicating to people on Facebook can cause physical illnesses such as obesity, heart disease and nutrition problems.
Mental issues caused by Social Media Addiction
Researchers have found that using social media obsessively causes more than just anxiety. In fact, it can cause depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), impulsive disorder, problems with mental functioning, paranoia, and loneliness. It is more than just the pressure socializing with others, it is also about how you may compare your life with others you see on Facebook. Many people see that someone on Facebook who has a great job, excellent husband, and beautiful home and they feel happy for them. But, others can feel jealous, depressed, or may even feel suicidal about their own life if it is not as “perfect” as those they see on Facebook.
How to take your life back
First of all, you must realize not everything you see in your news feed is true. People tend to hide the shadows in their lives from media networks like Facebook.
- People in their boxes just the same
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all the others are not real. It is a program on a computer and cell that acts as a tool for you to communicate with others. You can’t physical touch it or see it as you can see and touch the things around you. You can’t delete and unfriend people in your real life like you can on the social media programs.
So, being addicted to something that is not even real is the worst kind of thing that could happen to you. And the thing is you tell the truth while a lot of the other people lie through their teeth.
Obsessing for hours over how good these people have it with their glamorous photos and smiles and updates won’t change your life or do you any good. Their photos and videos don’t reveal the fact that they are probably living in a trailer park while they promote their beautiful beach house in Hawaii. You don’t really know how boring and mundane their lives really are.
Don’t believe everything you hear and see on social media. Take it at face value.
- Do your own thing
You need to start to take a look at you own life, your own real life. Discover, or rediscover, the things in you daily life that has worth to you. Start a little garden or raise plants in a pot. Get a pet – even if it’s a bird in a cage. Go buy some paint and paint pictures. Bring your inner artist out. Or write short stories and poems. Start doing yoga and go for walks – documenting interesting things around you.
And then you can share YOUR interesting life on your social media. Not for likes or comments, but for yourself – kinda like a diary. Built a memory base that you can look upon any time you like.
If you’re afraid of what people will comment on your first painting or story that you post then disable comments. You don’t need negative people or trolls in your life and you don’t have to take any abuse. It’s YOUR account and YOU decide what to do with it.
Don’t make social media your real life. Share your real life on social media.
- Decrease the value that you put on comments and likes
You have to remember – people can’t see inside your head to know how important comments and likes are to you on a certain post. Anyhow, they don’t actually know you. All that they see is a name and a picture of a person that they have never met in real life.
Don’t post things for likes and comments, trying to post things that you think that other people will like. You will be let down one way or the other. Post things that YOU like and try to post three times a day at most. If you flood your account with posts the whole day long then your profile will lose it’s value and people will start to look over your posts when they see your name. They will lose interest.
Getting a hold on the number of times that you check on your profiles
So, you can’t resist to check for updates every five minutes. Why? What on earth could have happened in the five minutes since you’ve last checked your profile? You don’t even give anything a chance to happen.
Checking your phone/computer every five minutes is a habit. Nothing more and nothing less. It’s a habit that you’ve created and now you’re feeding it until it wants to burst out of its brackets.
The following suggestions can help when you’re in your home. When in public, watch YouTube videos or read Zergnet instead of roaming the social media networks.
Take your control back. The first thing that you must do is NOT to have your device within reach. Yes, I know – what a horrible thing to say! The idea is that you must stand up and walk to your device to check in.
And that’s not all, move your check-in time from every 5 minutes to every 15 minutes. Do this for a week. And then move it to every 30 minutes for a week, and then to every hour.
How do you even start working on your timetable? Everytime that you feel the need to check your device stand up and walk to the kitchen and snack on something, or drink something. Or you can put a sweet in your mouth and suck on it until the need subside and then spit it out. Or walk out the door and walk back in thinking about what you’ve just seen outside the door.
Or keep a magazine close by and read something every time the need hits you to check in into you social profile. Find something that will help you to break your habit – anything that’s not on a device is good.
One last thing – turn your notifications off. Yes, turn your notifications OFF!