In Part One I looked at the ways that Social Media is potentially causing increased anxiety in today’s society. In this part I look at the strategies to help reduce this anxiety and manage the impact of Social Media on your mind.
An important starting place is to recognise your anxiety for what it is and then how your use of social media may be adding to it, if you are going to tackle it effectively. Take a moment to recognise just how your use of Social Media is impacting on you, how it makes you feel and any changes to your behaviour as a result. Also keep a check on just how much you use Instagram or Facebook for example, how much time you spend looking at other people’s lives and thinking about your own profile.
Here are a few strategies to reduce your anxiety that stems from Social Media
Learn how to maintain your self esteem on your own.
You need to identify the strengths you have and focus on the positives. Look at yourself positively and acknowledge what you have achieved. Learn to accept all aspects of yourself and see yourself in a realistic and positive way. You need to learn the coping skills so that you are not dependent not on the opinion of others. Work out what you really think, not influenced by what others are saying and stay true to this. Do things that make you feel good, like a sport or helping people. When you feel good, you are less likely to be dependent on the online world to define who you are.
You need to be able to identify & address your issues not avoid them.
Identify what is specifically causing the underlying anxiety and see how you can make that situation more manageable. Take some time out to yourself to refocus your attention inwardly and learn ways to relax and be control in anxiety producing situations. If you avoid difficult situations, it reinforces the negative patterns and validates the anxiety, believing there is something to fear after all. Talk to someone if you are having racing negative thoughts, it may well put them into perspective.
Cope with the emotions and manage device usage
For kids and their anxiety in relation to social media we need to teach them self esteem, set boundaries and develop their confidence so they can protect themselves. We need to look the causes of the feelings and behaviours rather than blaming the device. Get them to understand the dangers of Social Media, learn how to express their emotions and help them find ways to cope. Be good role models in your own use and set limits for yourself and the family. These could be rules such as no devices at the dinner table or after 9.00pm. Then create real life social activities where devices are not involved.
There are many reports about the impact of Social Media and Anxiety but it is difficult to draw real conclusions as the situation is rapidly changing all the time as technologies develop as does the way we interact.
Social Media does have an impact on Anxiety but it is important to remember that it is not necessarily social media that is causing the anxiety and that anxiety exists already. The platforms may just increasing its growth and its development in new ways.
“It is important to use Social Media in ways that enhance your life and recognise when it isn’t”
Anxiety has always existed and always will to some extent but Social Media has meant that its users are open to both positive and negative feedback from a much wider, 24/7 audience, that doesn’t behave the same as it would in face to face interactions.
We all need to take a break from social media and live in the real world to develop social and communication skills both verbal and non-verbal and to develop our abilities to cope without online validation. We also need to learn to turn our devices off and live a little, realising we can survive without them, for a short time at least.
If you want help with your anxiety using CBT, NLP and Hypnotherapy, contact A Weight Off Your Mind.