Facebook Anxiety: Why FB upsets you and what you can do!

Did you ever hear of, or felt, Facebook Anxiety or Social Media Anxiety?

In the first few moments of every workshop I give, I ask people to share why they think anxiety is pandemic in our culture and getting worse.

Usually the first answer is “Social Media.”

They say, that we are so attached to our screens that we have less connection person to person. Facebook Anxiety is that stress you get from being bullied online, comparing yourself to others or seeing one horrible news story after an other.

Yep, we have all been there. We don’t need more things in life that cause us anxiety! We have enough.

So in this video I share with you how you can turn Facebook into a tool too make you happier instead of more stressed.

Facebook Anxiety: Why FB upsets you and what you can do about it


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Facebook Anxiety explained further

Here is a question I recently receive from a journalist writing about this phenomenon, followed by my answer.

One question I wanted to go into further was the effect of social media on anxiety, particularly among the young. In your practice, do you hear from young people talking about the pressures to always be “on?” 

When you describe the pressure to always be “on,” I think you mean that teens constantly feel like the are in a fishbowl and are being watched and judged in every moment so they have to the pressure to project competence in social standards, i.e., cool, thin, liked, beautiful, and the like, so they are not thought of as the odd person out. This happens on or off social media.

Social media exacerbates it.

With SM, young people have the pretense that they are hidden from view while they are in the role of an observer, so they can relax. However it is in this role that their own mind is against them as they compare themselves to everything they see and conclude that they fall short.

When people have a negative self-view, this brings anxiety because if they don’t like themselves. They don’t trust themselves. Then they are vulnerable to all of anxieties lies, i.e., “You can’t handle it.” “You won’t be able to do it.” “You annoy people.” Life is pretty scary if you believe you can’t handle anything.

When they are the sharer on SM, the power of validation comes from the approval/attention of the audience. There is pressure to come up with ideas to share. Standards contradict. For example, there’s pressure to be outrageous, so that you have to stand out to fit in. Again, this severs relationship with the self, because it’s giving power away to others.

Yes, kids talk about this pressure. Even when they are alone, they have the sense that people can still see them so they have do continue to be perfect so they are not judged as defective. Or, they may refrain from shows/music/habits they like if they perceive others might think it uncool. They worry if peers see them in public with their parents. They may feel like/worry that they have a darkness inside that they are trying so hard to hide. And yet, they may feel like a failure because they assume everyone can see it anyway. Kids who have been past victim of peer or other abuse may feel this more intensely due to increased sensitivity.

See my Teen Anxiety post.

They worry about being successful in their future, in relationships, in their career. They think everyone is doing awesome, “I’m not really good at something. I just want to be really good at something.” They feel out of control and try to get control any way they can. They try to be the perfect student, abuse their bodies with controlled eating, over-exercise, OCD patterns, get into abusive relationships. And because these actually make them feel more out of control– they feel like they worked so hard and tried everything to be worthy, and failed –they feel hopeless. They get frozen in depression and anxiety.

Kids/people actually have an inherent sense of worth (biologically, we are driven to survive). So there is usually a war going on inside people who are struggling with the above. They may be blaming themselves for not being adequate and defending themselves. “It’s me, it’s them. It’s me, it’s them” or “I deserve to be sad, I got myself here. No it’s so awful and not fair I have to deal with this.” In many ways this war, though we are barely aware of it, is the biggest source of our suffering.

When kids minds are occupied with something that takes them out of this negative mind space, they can transform. They can become happy, laughing, totally fine, confident kids.

facebook anxiety 1

What are some things you want to commit to to keep yourself happier on and off Facebook? 

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