It seems that adults are subject to stress no matter where they are at: on the job, at home, in social gatherings and even on vacation. Unfortunately technology is feeding into the stress meter. So much so that it is one of the leading causes of anxiety overload we experience on a daily basis. In fact we can now positively say that a slave attachment to social media can be addictive.
Recent studies are finding a direct link between productivity performance issues and the way people exploit social media worldwide. It may be fun to browse our friends’ posts or be tickled with the latest funny YouTube video or just taking a minute to glance at Tic Toc, but the truth is all that time spent on social media translates into lost productivity.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about the positive impact social media can have, both on our work and business. What I am talking about is the misuse of social media in the workplace. Here are some examples.
Delaying Pending Work
There is no doubt many people put off meeting deadlines because of the work piled up on their desk or virtual desktop. We have a host of excuses as to why this may occur. Some legitimate while others not so legitimate. There are legitimate excuses that may relate to illness, children, and sickness within the family. Then there are not so legitimate reasons such as procrastination, lack of an action plan or lack of setting priorities. We fall to the favorite excuse of many, ‘there is just not enough time to finish the work.”
Several years ago we could blame other factors for delaying the work we do, however, technology has now become an example of how lifestyle improvements can work both ways: technology can help us get the job done more efficiently or postpone it for an incredible amount of time.
One of the first things we can do about this problem is to accept our responsibilities and acknowledge that social media does play a role in the way we deal with our work. Unless our job requires us to interact with social media we are wasting energy and that impacts the amount of stress we feel because we are not managing our time well.
Playing to Insecurity
Many people like to compare themselves to their friends. We used to call this “keeping up with the Jones’". Now we have social media which has opened the door to a large number of new friends. Some of whom we really don’t know, but we add them anyway to our list. These so called friends are nothing other than virtual acquaintances but their influence affects us anyway. Not only do we compare ourselves to the friends we know, we now compare ourselves to the friends we don’t know, setting the bar even higher than it was before.
In essence it seems we don’t want to appear ‘boring’ in comparison to our friends. We see them going on exotic trips, perhaps having more money than us they take extended vacations to places we can only dream about going to, or they post pictures of their latest purchase giving the impression that they are highflyers. The reality is, however, that many social media users portray a status they don’t have.
The bottom line here is not to accept everything you see on social media as fact and more importantly avoid comparing yourself with others. Recognize your own importance and self-worth and the merits of your potential.
Masking Mental Health
Some mental illness can now be easily diagnosed such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. People with these conditions are not defined by them but they are seen as an illness, just as a physical ailment doesn’t define the person who is physically ill.
There are mental health conditions that keep cropping up at different times in our history. Today, one of them may be a condition which we have masked as ‘shyness’.
Now shyness can reflect a quiet and withdrawn character trait but some people hide behind the term ‘shy’ or ‘shyness’ as a way to cover up a fear if missing out. FOMO or the “Fear Of Missing Out” is a term used in this connection.
What happens in cases like this is that people will tend to blame their lack of social skills by interacting with a growing number of “friends” online. This allows them to mask mental health issues by living in denial. In other words, since I interact with people online, I have no relational or social disorders such as “shyness”.
People in the medical profession are beginning to recognize a growing trend of people seeking medical help which is directly related to our current use of social media. Perhaps an antidote to this is to tune out online activity and tune into offline relationships.
The Results of Stress
When we don’t take stress seriously it can be the main cause of a long list of life-threatening conditions. The Stressology 100 Learning Guide – Mind, Body and Emotions, points out that stress can cause intermittent anxiety attacks to chronic conditions such as gastritis, heart diseases, diabetes, and depression. The list covers almost every aspect of everyday life.
Why does stress trigger havoc in our lives? The culprit falls to an imbalance produced by stressful conditions which in turn triggers massive amounts of cortisol – also known as the “stress hormone” – which directly impacts sleep patterns, elevated blood pressure, weight gain, hyperglycemia, and cognitive performance issues such as memory loss or disfunction; this is a cycle that repeats itself over and over again unless we decide to do something about it.
So, what can we do about it? Well the good news is there are ways to deal with deep levels of stress through therapy groups, individual counselling, and even self-help approaches. The first step is to recognize that one has a problem and then move towards a healing process. Now it may not be easy, and one should not expect immediate results. But when attachment to social media reaches the addiction level then like most addictions, it can be healed but it will take time to both deal with it appropriately and adapt to a more normal social outcome.
Awareness, Determination, perseverance and support are keys to resolution and the road to a more satisfying lifestyle.
Thank you for reading, and as always stay safe, be well and continue becoming the best version of yourself.
Anxiety and Social Media Use : https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/digital-world-real-world/202002/anxiety-and-social-media-use
What is Social Media Addiction, https://www.addictioncenter.com/drugs/social-media-addiction/
Stressology 100 and 200 – Stress Care For Today. And excellent resource for the cause and remedy for stress. Found in the FM Storefront.
Shyness and Social Media use: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S074756321930158X