Anxiety symptoms have never been so common before. Among the factors that cause anxiety disorders, technology plays a huge role.

It’s a tech-savvy world, one cannot deny that. And has the technology become an integral part of our lives? Has it taken over basic functions and very comfortably made its place in our day-to-day pattern or living? Yes, absolutely.

Now, this isn’t necessarily a very bad thing or something to be alarmed about because technology comes with an array of advantages as well. Technology has successfully enhanced our standards of living and has also made it easier and more advanced for those of us who appreciate it.

However, there is a downside to it, one that it is slowly but surely creeping into the lives of many, creating havoc and increasing anxiety symptoms as it trudges forward. Let’s acknowledge the existence today of “Tech-anxiety.”

What Is Tech-Anxiety?

It’s nothing but anxiety caused by something that is run by or relies on technology to exist. This can be anything that you might be using on a daily basis – your phone, laptop, tablets, emails, social media, and social interaction platforms, etc.

Technology is what gave birth to many of these mediums through which the world became “smaller” and connecting with strangers from around the world became easier. Really though, all the advancement kept aside, how much good did it do for the growth of humanity emotionally and mentally?

This is where tech-anxiety comes in as a concept. The various fears and stigmas attached to the platforms that technology offers often cause internal chaos for those who already find it hard to deal with the world and its ways.

5 Ways Technology Fuels Anxiety Symptoms

How often have you felt inferior looking at someone online? Or maybe felt the pressure to “post more often” or be more visible virtually for people to remember you and accept you? These are just some examples of how modern technology fuels anxiety symptoms.

Here are five ways in which tech-anxiety can have adverse effects on your life, both personally and professionally:

The great complex

It’s almost become a norm now to post everything we do on social media. Be it a vacation, a private celebration, or even the purchase of something new. While it does give people the chance to share their experiences with the world, it also, unfortunately, creates an artificial benchmark for people around them.

Feeling the need to do things just to make it look like your life is no less adventurous or fulfilled is a serious problem because it creates a mind-block. It also creates various psychological complexes and makes people feel less of themselves, which can eventually result in anxiety symptoms.

Here’s a tip

You don’t HAVE TO share everything on a social platform. Be happy for the ones who do and are comfortable doing so, but don’t let someone else’s lifestyle choices affect yours.

Body image and stereotyping

Another very rampant problem with tech platforms is the posting of images and putting physical appearance under various boxes and categories. A certain body type is considered “perfect” while other types are not, eventually creating a standard for people that not everyone might be able to fit into.

Now, there are 2 ways you can approach this.

  1. The first one would be to create a “good” and “bad” distinction, which is sure to create a divide and also cause major self-image problems in people.
  2. The second would be to motivate people to take care of themselves and approach it from a health and fitness angle.

Either way, it causes anxiety symptoms in many and can lead to serious mental issues in people who aren’t as confident of themselves.

Here’s a tip:

You are fine just the way you are, and even if you do wish to make a change to your appearance, do it only for yourself and not to impress anyone else.

A sense of inclusion

Now, groups are something that has always existed, even before technology became the new way of life. Most social media platforms today aim at bridging the gap between people and even transcending borders. They allow people all over the world to come together and break the traditional rules of friendship and connections.

Now, what happens to introverts who usually take time to make friends with people? Or those who aren’t great with making spontaneous conversation?

They feel left out, isolated, alienated even, and this causes a lack of confidence and self-belief. And as a result of these negative emotions, anxiety symptoms may pop up.

Unfortunately, what people portray on social media might not necessarily be the truth. Many times it’s fabricated, something that looks perfect in pictures but might have a whole other reality behind it. And since the virtual world can be judged more on face value than anything else, the conflict arises.

Here’s a tip:

Do not evaluate your self-worth based on how many people you may know or how crowded your pictures are. We build relationships with and for ourselves, and not to satisfy the perception of others.

Numbers can lie

Most statistics on virtual mediums work with numbers – the number of friends, number of followers, number of likes and comments and shares. Numbers can be quite intimidating, especially when you’re not on the higher end of the scale. This scale can tip in many directions, and different people receive it differently.

However, things like social awkwardness and insecurity are a huge problem that persists today and is responsible for anxiety symptoms in many people. They make you feel worse about yourself and drowning yourself willingly in self-pity.

Can these numbers really define someone? Do they have the power to dictate who is better than whom? Well, the answer lies in our hands. It all relies on how much power we let it take from us.

Numbers can lie, and sometimes they might just be accurate. The whole idea is not to let these virtual numbers change the way we perceive ourselves. Today’s youth is heavily influenced by such figures and even consider them to be facts when in reality they shouldn’t hold more value than they really deserve.

Here’s a tip:

Don’t let the lack of big numbers on your feed make you feel anxious or pressured to do more or be more. The only thing that defines you is your actions and your choices.

Why cyberbullying is a real thing

If anyone says that cyberbullying is a topic that is overhyped or sensationalized, they need to revisit their facts. Cyberbullying is just as real as any other form of prejudice, and it exists very rampantly in our technology-driven societies and communities.

It’s always easier to bully someone or hurt someone’s sentiment hiding behind a screen and behind a different identity. However, the comments are real and so is the criticism and the effect it has on a person’s psyche.

Eventually, this leads to the person feeling anxious, scared, depressed, and even too apprehensive to face the world and the people they know.

Does this sound like a familiar situation to you? Have you ever let an argument or a random attack by someone on the internet make you feel inferior or scare you into isolation?

This is where tech-related anxiety symptoms can ruin not just your personal life but also damage your productivity professionally. An unhealthy or disturbed mind is difficult to deal with, and always negatively impacts a person’s performance and response to different situations.

Interesting fact:

Did you know that about 18% of the American population suffers from anxiety disorders? Or that anxiety symptoms can differ according to one’s gender?

Check out the infographic below to understand more about the statistics associated with anxiety.

Things to remember:

  • Technology is only a part of your life and not your whole life
  • Social media doesn’t set any legitimate standards
  • Learn to be comfortable in your own skin, at all times
  • Your personal life does not have to be displayed to others, that is a very individual and subjective choice
  • If someone or something is making you feel uneasy, it’s best to keep distance and not create a bad environment for yourself

In a digitally influenced age, finding a niche for yourself can never be easy. What’s even more tedious is finding acquaintances with common interests or not feeling out of place in the crowd.

Your anxiety is always your responsibility, and you understand it better than anyone else. So it’s vital that you don’t allow any peer pressure or virtual standards to dictate how you live your life.

This infographic can give you a peek into how technology fuels anxiety symptoms:

 tech anxiety symptoms infographic

This infographic was brought to us thanks to Nootrina.

Valerie Soleil, B.A., LL.B.

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