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#AskAthena: Social Media Stresses Me out. What Can I do?

7 Practical steps to managing social-media stress

Our self-help columnist Athena Laz is a licensed psychologist and the author of You’ve Got This. She works with women worldwide, helping them to release their fear and self-doubt so that they can move forward confidently in life. You can see her work here.

Hey Athena,

I love your column! I’m struggling with something – my work requires that I have active social media accounts, but it leaves me feeling so overwhelmed and anxious. I didn’t realise it at first but the other week I could noticed the sensations in my body and now understand that I’m feeling tense because of it. I can’t quit social media. Do you have any tips that could help me?

Thanks, Z.

 

Hey Z,

Social media often triggers an emotional response that is indicative about how you may feel on a deeper level. For example: you may be scrolling through your feed and start thinking that you are not good enough, fit enough or whatever ‘enough’, which then leaves you feeling anxious and overwhelmed. So try and become mindful of what you are thinking about when you are scrolling through your social media accounts. If you can do this, you can learn to identify and change any cognitive distortions that you may be making, that are influencing how you feel. (Cognitive distortions are errors in thinking that almost everyone makes. You can learn more about them here.) Then once you’ve identified which thoughts are causing you to feel anxious, you can begin to take control of them, which will in turn automatically change how you feel. That said, here are seven practical tips for dealing with social-media anxiety:

  1. Plan what you are going to post before you log in to your platforms.
  2. When you log in, avoid scrolling through your feed and just post immediately.
  3. Put an alarm on for five minutes (or however long you find appropriate) to scroll through your feeds and then get off the minute your alarm goes off.
  4. Avoid social media for at least one week during the day.
  5. Use scheduling platforms to plan and post for you.
  6. Remove the social media apps off your cellphone. This will eliminate random scrolling.
  7. Delete any people/accounts that leave you feeling jealous, sad, anxious or overwhelmed.

I also highly recommend systematic de-stressing through physical exercise, meditation and talk therapy for general wellbeing.

Take care,
Athena Laz.

If you have a question for Athena, e-mail or tweet her. You can follow Athena here and see more of her work at Athenalaz.com.  You can also receive her free audio course, designed to help you move from stuck to success in five simple steps.

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