Overcome your anxiety browsing social media
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Noel Bell BA (Hons), MA, PG Dip Psych, UKCP
7th February, 20160 Comments
Do you browse social media under your duvet in the morning and lose the motivation to get on with your day? Do you feel more anxious the more time you spend online checking out what others are doing? Constantly checking social media for updates can drain your energy levels and potentially trigger a negative thinking cycle.
Social media may promise connection and community, but when it stops you from engaging in the real world it can prove to be a negative influence. Anxiety can be such a lonely condition and staying attached to social media feeds can be a way of compounding your negative state of being.
People generally present a very one-sided version of their lives on social media and it can appear that everyone else is having a super time out in the world. What we don’t see is the reality of their lives, but rather just a snapshot of what they want to present.
The writer George Monbiot has coined a term for our current engagement with technology when he referred to "the age of loneliness". As our societies have evolved in the modern age, it has become increasingly easy for us to separate ourselves from almost all forms of human connection during the course of our day. Anxiety, when it is most dangerous, can make you feel paralyzed. The temptation is to compound the anxious feelings by remaining stuck to your devices and avoid reaching out to people in your real social circle.
It is so important to look after yourself when you are feeling anxious. This means being kind to yourself and trying to show as much self-compassion as you can. It also means allowing yourself to reach out to family and friends and allowing them to help you to ease your current difficulties.
Action is the magic word when seeking to shift your anxious state. Physical exercise can be the perfect antidote to feeling unmotivated. Your active strategy can also include having a long, soothing bath, reading inspiring and motivational books and having a good friend to listen to you when you need to talk. When you do these empowering activities you have a better chance of engaging with the world in a more confident way.
Try restricting the amount of time you spend checking for updates on social media. Try, for instance, removing social media apps from your phone and see if that helps you to feel more empowered in tackling your daily tasks. You can reclaim your personal power by concentrating your energies on your own life and paying more attention to the real people in your life.
Remind yourself that are not alone, although, sometimes it might feel like you are the only one feeling this way. Counselling and psychotherapy can help you to set your boundaries around your online engagement and offer the opportunity to reassess your life direction. It can also help you to gain greater insight into your triggers for negative thinking. A trained therapist can help you to engage more meaningfully with all of your relationships and help to build higher levels of motivation in your day.
About the author
Noel Bell is a UKCP accredited clinical psychotherapist in London who has spent over 20 years exploring and studying personal growth, recovery from addictions and inner transformation. Noel is an integrative therapist and draws upon the most effective tools and techniques from the Psychodynamic, CBT, Humanist, Existential and Transpersonal schools.
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