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  • Candice Beaton, LCSW

Social Media & Anxiety

If you would've asked me in my first year of being a therapist about social media becoming a regular topic in my sessions, I would've likely dismissed it. With that said, I am not good at predicting the future and here we are! Don't just take my word for it, here are some conclusions based off of research:

"Higher amounts of screen time are associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression" and

"once on social media, whatever the stresses that motivated entry into the alternative digital world, these may be replaced by other stresses, which simply fuel the anxiety"

So, why do we do it? Insert boredom, difficulty being with your own thoughts (therapy can help), and wanting to disconnect for a moment. This is not to say there is no upside to social media. However, at a certain point we have to take a look at when a behavior is becoming more harmful than helpful. Let's remove the social media aspect for a moment and insert one of my favorites, chocolate chip cookies! One is fine but 10 in one sitting is likely too much... I'm assuming we agree on this. Same idea here with social media use, 30 minutes may be fine, 3 hours is too much.

Here are some practical tips for reducing that screen time:

Do Not Disturb is available for a reason: Give your phone a bedtime, 1-2 hours before bedtime is ideal. This is particularly helpful for those that have difficulty falling asleep.

Make a pact with a friend/partner: Accountability can be key so call yourself out, talk to a loved one and see if they'll join you.

Schedule social media use time: If you're anything like me, you have your phone sitting next to you at this very moment... if you're not already on it. Limiting your use to 1-2 times a day for a limited amount of time (15-30 minutes will do).

And my favorite, REPLACEMENT BEHAVIORS! It's not enough to say you're not going to eat the chocolate chip cookie...ahem, go on social media. Replace it with a healthy habit. Go for a walk, call a friend, meditate, workout.


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