Ep 93: Does social media stress you out?

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After a little more than a decade on social media, the luster has rubbed off a bit. It’s become as much of a stressor as a stress reliever. Yet, we still feel obligated to keep up with it for some weird reason.

How can you find a rightful place for social media in your life? Here are a few of my thoughts.

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Full transcript 👇


Ep 93: Does social media stress you out?

Hi. I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

Have you ever had a time where you’re like, “You know what? I’m just quitting all of social media? I’m done. If you need me, pin a message to a hacky sack and hurl it over my fence. I’ll give you a shout on the walkie talkie if I’m interested in what you have to say!” 😂

Social media has become such a deeply woven part of our days that it now feels like another thing we’re trying to wrangle and put into submission. Like we need any more wrangling in our days.

That’s kind of strange given that it started as a way to connect with others who share your interests or to make new friends, or whatever Tom over at MySpace was telling us at the time. It was all good and fun in those days.

It’s true. Social media can give us so much information, spread awareness of important issues and give us a powerful way to stay in each others lives in spite of where we live.

There are some really good things about social media.

But some days, it feels like an extra drain on our already overwhelmed psyches.

And if you’re prone to distraction, it’s even harder.

Social media feels very much like an either/or proposition. You’re either really into it or really fed up with it. Beyond just shutting it all down, how do you find some balance with it?

Understand that your tug of war with any technology is not about your device or the potential evil aspirations of Facebook.

It’s not even about Russia. 😲😂

It’s about you.

You always hold the power to choose where you place your attention. You are the gatekeeper for what you allow to enter your tired psyche. So it’s not so much about the fact that you own a device that gives you so much access. Or that what’s on it is so addictive.

I know there’s a ton of research on how addictive social media has become for so many. And the developers go out of their way to tap into our reward centers to keep us coming back.

But even with that, it doesn’t absolve us of the responsibility of managing our own attention. We still own that 100 percent of the time.

Your use of social media is still about the boundaries you choose to place on your time.

If you’re consistently evaluating your values and priorities, it’s a lot easier to find a more constructive role for social media. It finds its place in your life just like any other entertainment. You know when it’s time to set it aside.

The biggest problem is that social media has expertly given us a convenient way to avoid what we’re uncomfortable with. Instead of finding healthy ways to deal with your stress, you need only reach in your pocket to kill time and blow off some steam.

It’s just too easy.

That may defer the effects of the stress for a little while, but then you still have to re-enter the world where your life is actually happening. And that seems to be getting harder and harder for us to do because there are so many unique ways for us to escape.

Keep in mind that social media amplifies something that’s already there.

If you suffer from low self-esteem, for example, you have a ready-made product in your pocket to feed that insecurity. Whether it’s seeing others who you think look better than you or seeing others advance ahead of you, that comparison game brings out what you already feel you lack.

That insecurity may have started years ago. You may have formed rules in your own head about the value you bring to the world. That’s something you need to work on for yourself in order to feel good about who you are.

So it’s really less about what social media does to you as much as what it brings out of you.

This is yet another opportunity to draw some boundaries and do good work to improve how you see your world and your role in it.

Is social media adding to our stress?

The short answer is yes but only because we’ve chosen it. Consider that stress has been around long before social media. Imagine living in a time where your ability to hunt food and bring it home was your metric for the day.

How stressful do you think that was?

What we’re experiencing today isn’t the same kind of stress. Our stressors are typically not life-threatening on a daily basis. But we do have a lot of zingers coming our way every day, big and small. Social media has given us an easy way to forget about our stressors.

And that’s okay to a point. But when we prefer to escape over trying to solve our problems, that’s a problem. And we can do that with anything, not just social media.

In order to effectively handle our stress, we have to find the courage to interact with our problems and come up with solutions.

That’s where we start to feel like we have a little bit of control over what happens to us.

So is social media the evil it seems to be? The jury may still be out on that one. But it’s really not about social media.

It’s about knowing what we value and what’s important to us. That’s where we find a sense of purpose and meaning in spite of our stress.

And that is always in our pocket if we choose to engage with it.

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

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If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting my website at LoriMiller.me.

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