Is technology increasing your anxiety?
It’s rare to be in a situation where you don’t have easy access to the internet, whether this is through a PC, a tablet or your mobile phone. Being constantly connected to the digital world has an impact. There are constant alerts, updates and reminders, and there’s always something to distract yourself with if the internet is just a click away.
If you struggle with anxiety, all this connectedness can increase your anxiety symptoms. Having time to yourself away from the stresses and strains of life can be very helpful in combating your anxiety. However, if you’re constantly being alerted to things on your phone or tablet it’s hard to focus on yourself. Studies have shown that the constant multitasking involved in juggling e-mails, notifications, news and your day-to-day life increases your fatigue and stress.
Technology isn’t inherently good or bad. However, it’s important to understand how you’re using it and how it affects your daily life. Technology can also be a source of support. There are a range of apps and web pages that offer a source of support if you’re struggling with your anxiety, and there is a massive online community of people who are engaging with their anxiety and sharing what works for them.
However, social media can be particularly unhelpful. Facebook, Instagram and similar apps present a sanitised view of other people’s lives. All too often only the highlights are presented to the world; giving the impression that everyone else’s lives are full of excitement and amazing adventures. It can be easy to assume that you’re the only person suffering if those that you follow gloss over or ignore routine activities or anything that went badly. Being presented with one-sided views of other people’s lives can increase feelings of depression and anxiety.
With so many ways to communicate and to entertain ourselves, the amount of time we spend using technology is increasing. The average person now spends three hours a day on the internet. Casual surfing can be calming and diverting, but if you’re still accessing your phone or tablet in the early hours of the morning, this can reduce the quality of your sleep and decrease your resilience the next day.
There’s no escaping the fact that we live in a digital world. However, we all have a choice about how we engage with it. A counsellor can help you to be more aware of how you use technology, the parts you find beneficial, and those that may be interrupting the process of looking after yourself.
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About Chris Mounsher
Chris Mounsher is a BACP registered humanistic counsellor working in private practice in Brighton. He offers both long term and short term counselling and has particular experience working with anxiety, addiction, depression, low self-esteem and relationship difficulties.