“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.” – Erik Qualman.
Social media is the perfect way to communicate and keep in touch with friends. But the increasing need of being noticed and liked has created a vicious cycle whereby people are falling prey to. The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) or The Fear of Being Online (FOBO) are common concerns that social media creates. Jerry Bubrick, PhD, a clinical psychologist, says “FOMO is really the fear of not being connected to our social world, and that need to feel connected sometimes trumps whatever’s going on in the actual situation we’re in. The more we use social media, the less we think about being present in the moment.”
Different sites facilitating Strangers’ Chat are in trend now which have some obvious adverse effects. People have become so comfortable with virtual conversations that they feel anxious to get into real conversations. “You can certainly sign up as many people as you like, but that doesn’t make them friends. All we are doing is signing up people that we would normally think of as acquaintances in the offline world.” psychologist R.I.M. Dunbar, Ph.D. explains this “adding online friends” event, when a person can’t even have meaningful time with their closest family and friends in reality.
But this only generates from the fact that social media makes a person cut off from all real life communications and one tends to feel lonely. Moreover, “Being bombarded with images of perfection, perfect bodies, perfect make up, perfect faces can leave people feeling quite down about themselves because you’re mislead to believe that this is reality,” says developmental psychologist Stephanie Lau.
There are a lot of patients that need to talk to somebody, “ says Dr. Barnett.
Symptoms of Social Media Anxiety
- Interrupting a conversation with friends and family to speak about the latest post or comment in the public accounts.
- Making excuses to avoid family occasions just to keep up to date with the notifications and news on social media.
- Getting distracted from work for checking the social media profiles.
- Spending long hours on social networking sites (8 hours or more).
- Becoming over-sensitive to social posts, photos, and comments.
- Self-judgment based on social likeability.
Steps for recovering Social Media Anxiety
- Acceptance of the problem – The first and foremost step of getting over this problem is to understand and accept it and stay away from any denial.
- Time management– Another important factor is to know how to regulate the time you are spending on social sites. It is advisable to use a timer and restrict the use of the internet for long hours.
- Cut off on social media for a while – Take a break from social media for some time, like a month or two, and see how it feels. Turn off all social media notifications. Try to do some of your important work while you are offline (like that of some office work or school work or home work) and keep the focus solely on that.
- List down your To-Dos – Avoid using social media as much as you can and make a list of all the work that you would love to do, such as reading, writing, visiting a friend etc. Also, list down the various aims and goals that you have in your mind and think of the ways you can achieve them.
- Block social media accounts – It is recommended to block social media accounts for a while and try and resist the temptation to reopen it within that time. Stay away from people who are continuously engaged in talks related to social media.
- Deal with the situation – If you are facing some problem with any of your accounts in Facebook or some other social media sites, ask others, get to know the problem, and head towards a solution. It is important to deal with the situation rather than running away.
- Start communicating – it is very important that your start communicating with people in real life basis without the use of social media. It helps bring back your lost confidence.
- Do some yoga or exercises – Yes! The solution to all anxiety and to calm down your nerves comes with some free hand exercises and meditation and yoga. It boosts your energy and refreshes your mind.
Setting limits on social media use can be the first step to a healthy mind. If you feel like social media is causing you disturbance and you cannot free your mind from it, it is advisable to take professional guidance, as the pull of connecting is always greater than the thrust of disconnecting from these vices. Remember that you are the one using social media. Do not let social media use you.