Social Media Can Induce Feelings of Anxiety

Social media can produce high levels of stress and anxiety.  Sharing and posting  aspects of your life with others is the purpose of social media but it can lead to negative outcomes. These negative outcomes can cause a mental health concern or it can exacerbate an existing disorder. Studies show that those with higher levels of self-esteem use social media to creatively express themselves by posting and sharing information.  On the other hand, those with lower levels of self-esteem use the sites differently.  Individuals with lower self-esteem spend a significant amount of time counting likes, making sure there is never an unflattering picture, or negative comment made that would change the image of themselves they are creating.

Photo Credit: Visual Content Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Visual Content Flickr via Compfight cc

Constantly checking for updates, statuses, comments, and likes can generate massive amounts of worry and anxiety.  According to psychcentral.com studies show that people feel a constant impulse to check the sites and it can cause anxiety and worry when individuals don’t have access to social media.  The constant need to check up on what is happening on social media can cause sleep disturbances and can cause individuals to compare themselves to others.  When a person begins to compare themselves to others it can lower self esteem even more and cause a cycle of negativity.

Anxiety is a part of life and everyone has feelings of anxiety at times but it is important to stay connected with how you are feeling so you know when things are going wrong.  If you realize that you are checking social media constantly try taking the time to separate yourself from it.  Social media can be fun but your mental health is more important.  Self-care is key and you must do what you can to protect yourself from becoming too invested in this virtual version of yourself. At the end of the day being satisfied with who you are in reality and loving that person is far more important than comparing yourself to virtual versions of people online.

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Hi! The moderator is a research team member with a background in behavioral health. We're here to help answer your questions and stimulate some great conversation! We don't provide therapy and are not available 24-7 so please if you are in crisis, go to our crisis page: https://sova.pitt.edu/i-need-help-now We look forward to talking to you!

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