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Social Anxiety and Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Social media has created a whole new world for us to explore. It's been the cause of many good, but it's also caused some pretty ugly moments. Whether or not social media is beneficial for people with social anxiety is a complex question. This debate has been going on for over a decade, and quite honestly, my opinion has changed over the years. Now that I have been using social medial consistently for my business and for staying connected, especially during the pandemic, my response is clearer to me. The answer depends on many factors, including how you use those communication channels, what role they play in your life, and your tendency toward addiction.

Some of the benefits and disadvantages of social media are the same as those for people without a mental health challenge. Some people compare themselves to others on these platforms- while others are unique to our situation- like when we feel anxious about our "live" status being detected by friends who don't know much about our struggles with mental health issues.

Remember that not everything you see online is 100% accurate. It is easy for someone to take on a persona that doesn't' represent their life. Many people try to portray a ,amazing life, but they do not mention any life challenges. If you find yourself more anxious after spending time on social media, it's likely time for you to take a break from it. I like to ask my clients a few questions to give them more clarity. The questions are:

1) What do you think is triggering your anxiety response?

2) How do you feel at the moment?

3) Is what I'm reading/watching benefiting my mental health? Is it encouraging me, or is it bringing me down?

4) Why am I paying attention to certain social media sites?

The answers to the above questions might not always be clear, but this is a good start. It is essential for individuals struggling with mental health to be careful of the amount of time they spend on social media and the different sites they spend time on. Some resources can be highly beneficial to your mental health, and others, quite frankly, can be pretty detrimental.

The good thing that YOU are in control of what you watch.

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