Does Technology Contribute to Anxiety?


Technology offers a lot of positive things to our lives. We can communicate with people all over the world, find information at the touch of a button, and bring entertainment with us wherever we go. However, it may also be contributing to heightened anxiety levels in some people.

If you have found yourself trying to cope with your anxiety by reaching for your phone or logging into social media, you are not the only one. However, that is not a healthy way to deal with anxieties and other distressing thoughts. Instead, you may want to consider therapy from BetterHelp.

However, keeping some things in mind about your technology use may also help to ease some of the anxiety that you are feeling. Before you can do something about it, you have to know why it may be causing you more anxiety.


Reliance on Phones and Internet

We often rely on the use of our phones with internet access to go about our daily routines. Then, many people have a tendency to reach for it every few minutes to see new notifications, text messages, and more.

This reliance can interrupt your life and cause you to pay less attention to the real world. The constant connection may cause anxiety about being without the phone or losing internet access. We may always want a constant connection.


Communication Troubles

While smartphones and the internet make it much easier to communicate with people all over the world, we still need face-to-face interaction with others. In addition, much of the communication relies on the correct interpretation of the text. However, these interpretations may not always be correct.

For example, we may see a one-word reply as rude when the person wasn’t meaning to be rude at all. Plus, you may see that a message is “read,” but the person did not respond. This can cause anxiety about the reasons that they are not texting you back. We tend to expect everyone to reply quickly and to always have their phones readily available.


Gaming or Social Media Addiction

Video games and social media can be addicting because they provide a boost to the neurotransmitter dopamine which makes us feel pleasure. Some people also use gaming and social media as a coping method to deal with existing anxieties or other negative feelings.

These types of media are often designed in a way that makes them more addicting. While it is of course possible to play games or use social media a healthy amount, it can also lead to overuse that makes us neglect important aspects of our lives.


Jealousy and Envy

People’s online personas usually present only positive aspects of their lives. When we browse social media, we see others on vacation, getting promotions, and eating three-course meals. However, this is only a portion of their lives presented in a positive manner. We do not hear about their challenges or failures.

This comparison can make us feel jealous and envious and make us harsher on ourselves. This can cause us to be anxious about the state of our lives or cause us to attempt to present our lives as wholly positive on social media leading us to post every part of our lives that may be construed as good.


Reducing Uncertainty

With so much information at your fingertips, we can reduce the amount of uncertainty moving forward. We can look at how an illness or pregnancy will progress, if and when we will encounter traffic on the way to work, and how to know when to do home repairs. However, eliminating uncertainty is impossible.

This can cause us to be less prepared for a big change or situation that arises and challenges us. Information found online cannot help us to build a career or to form relationships. So, while it can help us reduce uncertainty in some matters, it makes us less likely to manage some situations when they inevitably arise.


Little or No In-Person Interaction

Social media and other tech applications allow us to avoid people while remaining productive and functional more than ever before. While this can be a great thing, especially during pandemic lockdowns, it can also be bad for mental health because in-person social interaction is important for well-being.

Avoiding people can lead to isolation and loneliness. In addition, when we encounter difficult challenges, we may not have a great social support system in place to help guide us. It hinders relationships and communication that are crucial for growth.


How to Use Technology in a Healthy Way

So, there are certainly some ways that technology can increase our anxieties, but it is also helpful to use technology. Plus, it would be extremely difficult to properly function in society these days without a smartphone or the internet.

The first thing to keep in mind is the amount that you use technology for things other than work. If you are foregoing healthy hobbies just to play on social media, then you may want to set limits to your screen time. The same is true if you are avoiding people because of your tech habits.

You may want to set certain limits each day for how much you can use social media or play video games. In addition, you can set boundaries to help with specific portions of your day. For example, if you find that you are losing sleep being on your phone at night, you can set a rule that you will never use the phone after 8 p.m.

You also need to keep healthy habits. This means that you should strive to exercise regularly, get plenty of restful sleep, and eat nutritious meals. You should also spend time with people in person and try to participate in your favorite hobbies.

While technology can help connect us, provides us with entertainment at any time, and allows us to perform certain tasks with ease, it is important that your tech use is healthy and that your use of the internet, social media, or games do not interfere with your life, well-being, and mental health.

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