I have been in schools as a teaching assistant sub over the past couple of weeks and one thing I have noticed is the overuse of cell phones in class and in the halls. For many of you, this is common and not out of the ordinary. However, when I was in high school, cell phones had just become popular and not everyone had one. There wasn’t a need to check Facebook every two minutes and barely anyone texted.
By constantly checking social media and “Snap Chatting” friends throughout the day, the possible level of stress and anxiety can rise. Why? Because by checking Facebook, Instagram and Twitter every few minutes, you could read or see something that could bring you down.
And we know that when something brings you down, it could lead to unsafe behaviors – such as self-harm.
Admit it – We’re Addicted to Cell Phones and Social Media
I can barely go five minutes without checking my phone. It has become such a habit that when I try not to press the screen to check for a text, I get anxious. No one wants to miss out on something that happens in their group of friends or in their community. We all want to feel connected and when we feel left out, negative emotions fill our bodies.
However, people find a need to vent about other people and the way many may do this is on the social media by “cyber-bullying.” This can make people feel upset and for those who do not have healthy coping skills, self-harm can be the go-to behavior.
For those who struggle with self-harm and mental illness, things as simple as a teacher taking away your phone may lead to anger and anxiety. When those emotions start to erupt, cutting, burning or hair pulling may seem like the best way to calm down. We know these coping skills are not healthy, but it’s hard to realize how petty it is to let the social media affect us in such a way. However, it has become such a natural part of our lives that simply seeing someone you don’t like post a picture can make us angry.
What Can Really Be Done about Social Media and Stress?
It’s sad to say that not much can stop us from letting the social media stress us in such a powerful way. We are human and our emotions can change in an instant. However, we need to find ways to make it so negative statuses and pictures do not affect our work and school lives.
To put it simply, do not check your cell phone at work or school. However, these days, it is almost impossible to do this. I know for a fact that I would have an extremely difficult time doing this and almost everyone in this generation can agree. However, we all must find a way to not let the social media get to us in ways that could set us off when we need to focus on more important things. For self-harmers, this means choosing positive coping skills when you see or read something that could set you off. In truth, that goes for everyone.
However, we know it is easier said than done. The most we can do is try.