Social media has become so integrated into the fabric of everyday life that when you meet somebody who has sworn it off entirely, it’s cause for conversation. Facebook alone has 2.13 billion active monthly users. It’s definitely changing the way humans view and interact with society, their friends, and themselves. And not always for the better. Although social media is a convenient way to maintain casual friendships across great distances, network, and share important events in your life with people who care about you, the convenience comes at a cost. In addition to being linked to depression and anxiety, social media is also an abundant source of stress.
At this point, most of us have probably accepted stress as a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Stress has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, alcohol abuse, overeating, depression, sexual dysfunction, and a weakened immune system. And social media could be contributing to some or all of these problems. The good news? Just because you’re stressed doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. Put the phone down, take a deep breath, and check out The 10 Best Non-Exercise Stress Busters.
Probably the most obvious way social media brings stress into our lives is by providing us the opportunity to compare ourselves to others. Despite the fact that we spend so much time curating our social media presence, it’s hard to remember that everyone else is doing that too. This’ll have you worrying that you’re not good enough in no time. That’s why spending too much time on Facebook is just one of 15 Daily Habits That Are Killing Your Confidence.
Other Stress Rubs Off
Even if you’re doing a pretty good job of not comparing yourself to others, the stress of the people you’re connected with on social media can rub off on you and ruin your day too. If you find this happening and need a quick fix, check out the 10 Secrets for Beating Stress in 10 Minutes (or Less!).
FOMO, or fear of missing out, is a real part of the social media experience for some people. You scroll through your feed, see everyone having a good time, and worry that you’re missing out on something. This can lead to anxiety, which leads to stress. Instead of worrying about what everybody else is doing, make the most of your day and learn these 50 Genius Tricks to Improve Your Life.
Stress Is Contagious
Even if you’re not stressed now, social media can change that in no time. Stress spreads like a contagion across networks, meaning if somebody you don’t even know is having a bad day, it could still make its way to you and ruin your day too.
You remember the 2016 election cycle, right? Many friendships were sullied, and many Thanksgiving dinners were ruined thanks to the political “discussions” people were having online. For most people, arguing with a stranger is a pretty stressful experience. Arguing with your weird uncle and then having to pass him the mashed potatoes at the dinner table is definitely worse.
Speaking of familial troubles, people who constantly check their social media say they feel disconnected from their family, even when they’re together, which can’t feel great.
It Makes Relaxing Difficult
Once you get into the habit of obsessing over social media, you can’t just shut that off. You might find you have a hard time relaxing when somebody could be liking or commenting on one of your posts and you don’t even know about it! If this sounds like you, put the phone down and pick up The 50 Best Ways to Relax With Your Partner.
Worrying About Your Children
More than half of parents, 58 percent in fact, say they worry about the way their children are interacting with social media. It’s just one more source of stress in an already stressful life. To make things easier, consider The 30 Funniest Pieces of Celebrity Parenting Advice.
Instagram Is the Worst
Before you go saddling all the blame on Facebook for this stress, it turns out Instagram is actually the worst for mental health, probably because it’s all image-based, so the ratio of brags to actual real life is much higher. If social media stress is getting you down, consider cutting back on Instagram and see if that helps.
Social networks like Facebook were designed to be addictive, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself hooked. Unfortunately, part of addiction is withdrawal, which means that in addition to social media stressing you out, not having access to social media can also stress you out. It’s a lose-lose situation.
One of the ironic things about social networking is that the more people we’re in contact with, the more isolated we can feel. It turns out relationships are about quality, not quantity, and if you spend all your time having shallow interactions with people you barely know over the internet, you can wind up feeling pretty lonely, which can lead to anxiety and stress.
Low Quality Sleep
In addition to low quality friends, too much social media can cause low quality sleep, making it harder to deal with day-to-day issues, and increasing your stress level.
Think of how many tabs you have open at any given moment. If one of them is Facebook, your concentration is pretty much doomed. Anytime a notification pops up, you’ll be tempted to check and get a little hit of dopamine. This can lower the quality of whatever you’re working on, which always leads to stress.
Maintaining Your Brand
Admit it: you spend time curating your social media presence just like everyone else. But if you’re obsessed with maintaining a perfect Instagram brand for your 243 followers, you’re adding additional stress to your life when you could be enjoying yourself instead.
Looking for Work
Social media seems like all fun and games, until it’s time to look for a job. Then it’s time to put everything on lockdown. The nagging worry that there’s some public post or tag in your past that’s going to make its way to HR and keep you from landing an interview is one of the more unpleasant ways modern life can stress you out.
Keeping Tabs on Your Ex
10 years ago, your ex could dump you and then slither off into the night, never to be seen again. Now they’re on Facebook. And they’re your “friend.” For many, this means some lonely nights catching up on all their comings and goings, comparing your life to theirs, and causing yourself all sorts of undue stress in the process.
Spending More Money
In addition to all these existential worries, using Facebook can also lead to spending more money, research shows. Too much time Facebooking can reduce your self-control and possibly lead to your spending more cash than you should.
It’s all too easy to spend too much time scrolling through your Twitter feed or Facebook instead of tackling that big assignment you need to work on. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make the assignment get done any faster. And it’s only going to get worse the longer you put it off.
Meeting New People
Interestingly, seeing a person on Facebook before meeting them in real life makes the experience more stressful than just going in blind, for reasons researchers aren’t too clear on. So, maybe avoid Facebook stalking your date before you meet up for the first time, tempting as it may be.
People want to quit social media, but the idea of being without it is so stressful that they feel like they can’t. This makes them want to quit even more, and the cycle continues until you’re a big ball of stress. If this sounds like you, you may not be able to quit social media, but you can interact with it less by avoiding it on your phone. Start by checking out the 11 Easy Ways to Conquer Your Smartphone Addiction.
To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!