Pretty much everyone is on at least one social media network these days, and while these apps can be a great way to stay connected with our favorite people and even companies, they also come with plenty of downsides. Is social media making you anxious? Here’s how you know you have a problem.
- You’re on your phone pretty much 24/7 and people have commented on it. We’re all a little bit addicted to our phones, but most of us are able to put them down sometimes, especially when something or someone else deserves our full attention. If you find yourself sneaking glances at your phone and ignoring the people, places, and things around you, it may be because you’re having social media FOMO.
- You panic if you’ve left your phone at home/run out of battery. After all, did you really go out to dinner or see the Eiffel Tower if you haven’t taken half a dozen perfectly lit/filtered photos of it and pasted it on your Instagram feed? Will people know how funny you are if you can’t tweet that pun you came up with RIGHT NOW?
- Your self-esteem has gone down since you joined social media. You used to feel pretty good about the skin you’re in, but now that you’re seeing all of these airbrushed and filtered Instagram influencers, your self-esteem is in the gutter. Why can’t you have 750,000 followers and get free diet teas? Is it because you’re too fat/not pretty enough? Ugh.
- When your social media network of choice goes down, you panic. Sometimes technology goes wrong and our favorite social media sites experience outages. Most of us just get on with our lives, but you freak out wondering when it’s going to come back. You open the app every few seconds, desperately trying to see if your feed will refresh, reassuring you that everything’s back up and running. What the hell?
- You wonder what you’re missing when you’re not scrolling. On the rare occasions that you’ve put your phone down or decide to step away from it for a bit, you find your thoughts wandering to what’s going on and what everyone is posting. What if it’s something good and you don’t see it until an hour or more after it’s gone up?
- You sometimes worry that your life isn’t exciting enough. Generally speaking, you know you have it pretty good. You get to go on vacation once or twice a year and you have a good job, fun friends, and cute clothes. So why does it feel like your feed is super boring? Why didn’t your latest selfie at the local artsy cafe that just opened get more likes? If you’re doubting your existence because of social media, there’s a serious issue.
- You scroll through your own social feeds often to make sure you haven’t done/said something embarrassing. Whenever you apply for a job or match with someone on social media, you’re always sure to look through your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds to ensure that you haven’t said anything too “out there.” You don’t stop at checking posts from the past few weeks, either—you’ve been known to go YEARS back. Yikes.
- You sleep less because you’re up scrolling so late. You’re exhausted pretty much every morning because you went to bed too late to get a restful night of sleep. Why’s that? Oh, you were just scrolling through social media, refreshing one app after another in endless succession until the early hours of the morning. What are you so afraid of missing?
- You’ve considered deleting your accounts but the thought makes you anxious. If the thought of stepping away from a smartphone app gives you existential dread, that’s a sign of a serious problem, end of story. Step away from your phone, take a breather, and maybe even seek professional help if it’s impacting your life so deeply because it definitely shouldn’t be.