I was contacted by Ralph Macey who kindly wrote this guest post for my blog, about Social Media and how it affects those who have Social Anxiety Disorder.
Social media is all about socializing with people from various parts of the world. Thanks to digital media, now you can interact with people in Australia from the comfort of your home. You don’t need to book flights or travel for several hours. So in theory, social media seems to be a great place for someone with a social anxiety disorder. The person doesn’t have to go through that intense and constant fear of being watched and judged by other people.
But is that all? Is social media the perfect solution for people with social anxiety?
Well, like everything in this world, social media also has a few negative sides, and that makes a big impact on people. The negative sides of social media lead to anxiety and depression.
Social media is a make-believe world where people lie about their lives to show off. Facebook and Instagram feeds are curated to perfection. Pictures are edited, filtered and photoshopped through various kinds of photo editing apps. A fat woman seems to have an hour-glass figure, a dusky woman looks fair; all thanks to various kinds of editors available nowadays. An individual with social anxiety disorder suffers from an inferiority complex when he/she sees all the cherry-picked pictures on social media. He feels that everyone looks better than him, eats better foods than him, and enjoys life more than him. He hardly realizes that social media is also about sham and show off.
So what’s the way out? It’s almost impossible to shun social media completely in this digital world. So staying away from social media is not possible completely. Plus, there are a few good sides of social media also, which can’t be ignored. Well, a few survival tips can help in this case, which I’m going to share now.
3 Social media survival tips for people with social anxiety
Sometimes social media does more harm than good. It creates a huge negative impact on people. Here are the 3 tips you can use to deal with the negative sides of social media even when you’re suffering from a social anxiety disorder.
1. Understand that social media doesn’t tell you the true story
Whenever you see beautiful pics and perfect feeds, remind yourself that they don’t tell you the complete story. These are cropped, filtered, and curated pictures that are uploaded on social media. Behind the happy pictures, there are flaws, problems, chaos, and insecurity. Everyone posts only happy pictures, which are probably the best bits of their otherwise mundane life.
2. Join support groups to vent out your frustration
Social media is not just about bad things. There are good aspects of social media as well. You can join groups created for mental health care. You can ask questions regarding how to cope with a social anxiety disorder or any other question that is there in your mind. Perhaps, you’re unable to talk about your problems to near and dear ones. You may feel shy to say what’s bugging you. But you can easily share your problems with the support groups. No one will judge you there. Rather, you’ll get honest and genuine feedback from there.
You can also use the groups to spread awareness about social anxiety or mental health care in general.
Facebook is a good platform to find out long-lost friends. You can search and find out long-lost childhood buddies with whom you can share a hearty laughter. Childhood friends don’t judge you. Rather they love you unconditionally. So when you’re depressed about something, you can always talk with them to overcome it.
3. Take a break from social media to be calm
Taking a short break from social media is good for mental health. You can enjoy the small moments of your life instead of getting jealous of what is happening in someone else’s life. You can get a sweet break from the constant disturbing notifications throughout the day and night. You can interact with real people to come out of social phobia. You can watch movies, read books, or even go for a short trip to unwind.
Social media is all about likes, comments, and followers. But that doesn’t mean you have to post good pictures or fake pictures just to increase your followers on Facebook or Instagram. There is no need to post pictures simply for validation and likes. There is no need to follow accounts of people or join different groups who make you feel bad about yourself. You don’t need those kinds of negative people or influences in your life.
You can be there on social media without opening your private life for scrutiny. Your personal life is private. You should follow and interact with people you’re comfortable with. Block people from your accounts who spread negativity on social media.