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The Correlation Between Anxiety and Excessive Social Media Usage

Social media has offered people many benefits. Whether it’s connecting with loved ones across the world or establishing a strong career path in social media management or social marketing, there are many advantages to it.

However, like anything, it’s important to practice moderation when using social media. When used excessively, a correlation between anxiety and social media usage could develop and harm your mental health. How does heavy social media usage affect the minds of those who use it? This blog post will take a closer look at the link between anxiety and the use of social media.

How Has Social Media Shaped Life in the 21st Century?

People are more connected than ever, which is something that we often don’t appreciate nowadays simply because we are used to having virtual, instant communication readily available. While social media can be fun, it can also lead to an isolated and lonely existence if you begin to obsess over it. Social media can cause certain individuals to become addicted to their phones and technology in general.

In fact, the number of social media users has grown globally from 4.62 billion in January 2022 to 4.72 billion in January 2023. 

Some of the key benefits of social media include:

  • Communicating with others at any time from anywhere in the world.
  • Great marketing for brands who are looking to find their target customers.
  • Staying updated with all the latest news and information going on.
  • Helping people build new relationships.
  • Creating new career paths and vocations.

While these benefits of social media are undeniable, there are, of course, some disadvantages to it. One of the primary drawbacks of it is its ability to increase mental health issues in certain people.

How Can Excessive Social Media Usage Heighten Anxiety?

Whether you deal with anxiety already or not, social media can certainly be a trigger in heightening anxiety levels. It’s good to be aware of the signs and know how to spot them when they happen to you. Here are some ways in which excessive use of social media can lead to heightened anxiety for an individual.

Lack of sleep and an inability to turn the mind off

As social media is accessed via our mobile phones or electronic devices like tablets and desktops, the blue light that emits from these screens can make it hard to switch off your mind at night. When it comes to falling asleep, engaging with your mobile device can often lead to a poor night’s rest.

A lack of sleep is bad for your mental and physical health. With less sleep each night, your body suffers and doesn’t repair itself properly for the day ahead.

Jealousy of others or comparing yourself too much to others

It’s important to celebrate your wins and the successes of others. That sort of positivity can be good for the world, yet social media can be a hindrance to that aim in life. With social media, you only see a certain part of someone’s life. In fact, you’re only seeing mere snippets that have been tailored by the creators themselves.

It’s easy for anyone to find jealousy in social media and compare themselves to others they follow online.

Obsession with follower count or likes

Whether you see social media as a hobby or as a professional career, social media can trigger anxiety. One way it manifests is through an obsession over follow and like counts.

Being obsessed over this aspect of social media is common, especially when there is so much noise and competition on these platforms. It can feel like a bit of a rat race, which is hard to pull away from, therefore leading to a lot more anxiety.

Fear of missing out on things or feeling uninvited

With social media, connecting in the real world can suddenly become more challenging because it’s often easier to simply message someone digitally. The fear of missing out on things or feeling uninvited to certain events due to spending too much time on social media is another common issue with it. Seeing events that friends or family members are a part of in a social media post can cause individuals to feel lonely and depressed if they weren’t also invited.

Feeling a need to respond to everyone and everything

Social media has a habit of pulling you in and can hook you for hours on end every day. Suddenly, you may be in a place where you feel the need to constantly respond to everything you see or reply to all the comments you get on your content.

How Can I Prevent Increased Anxiety from Social Media?

Social media can still be enjoyable without causing problems in your life, and there are steps you can take to prevent increased anxiety when using it. With that being said, here are some tips to use:

Limit yourself to a set time amount per day of social media usage

First, consider how much you use social media on a daily basis. You might find that your usage is a lot more substantial than you first thought. With that in mind, consider setting yourself a time or an amount of time per day to spend on social media.

Practice mindfulness or breathing techniques

To help with anxiety, try to center yourself by practicing mindfulness and carrying out some breathing techniques. Doing both can be a good way to help with your mental health in general by slowing you down and helping you relax a bit more.

Take a break from social media

Sometimes, social media can become too much to the point where depression can rear its ugly head. It’s necessary to take a step back when the anxiety becomes too much. Taking a break from social media can be helpful to reset and take the scope of what’s really important in the real world.

Contact a professional if anxiety becomes severe

If the anxiety becomes severe enough that it’s affecting your mental or physical health regularly, then it’s worthwhile seeking a professional’s advice and guidance. Your friends and family may only be able to do so much compared to the knowledge and skill set of a trained specialist.

Let Jackson House Help

It's important to be aware of how social media usage affects mental health. If you’re concerned about yourself or others, it’s worth getting help from a program like Jackson House. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we help clients manage anxiety using proven techniques.

About the author

Jackson House

Jackson House

We built Jackson House because we realized there was a critical gap in our healthcare system and many individuals with mental illnesses and substance abuse problems were struggling because of it. While there are many outpatient treatment options and locked, inpatient facilities there was nothing in the middle. Nothing to help people who needed around the clock care but wanted to receive treatment voluntarily, on their own terms. Jackson House is different. We provide clients with the level of care they need in a welcoming environment. When you walk through our doors, we will meet you wherever you’re at and help you on your journey toward feeling better.

It's time to feel better

We are here to help and we are in-network with most insurance providers. Call us for a free and confidential consultation.

If you’re a provider and need to send us information on a client, please feel free to fax us at 619-303-7044. If you need help immediately, call our 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-766-4274. If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Jackson House is licensed by the State of California Community Care Licensing Division and certified by the Department of Health Care Services. We are also CARF Accredited. If you have any client or quality of care concerns, please reach out to us at (888) 255-9280. If your concerns need further attention, you can contact the Department of Public Health at 619-278-3700 or the Community Care Licensing Division at 1-844-538-8766.