When Technology Makes You Anxious
Using technology can sometimes contribute to your anxiety. Have you ever wondered if your anxiety levels would be different -- such as whether you would experience more or less anxiety -- if your use of technology was different?
This was something I reflected on recently. I remember a time when I was on vacation with my family, and I found myself anxiously checking my phone for email notifications related to work. At one point, I realized how it was something I kept anxiously doing as I anticipated and worried about emails that I would get. However, I knew, logically, that any emails I would receive were emails that could wait and did not immediately need to be addressed. It was at this point that I realized that my relationships with technology devices needed to change.
How You Know If Technology Makes You Anxious
If you find yourself on your phone often, checking for social media notifications, or you often find yourself looking for emails, you might find that it is important to take a close look at your use of technology. Or perhaps you often find that you feel a sense of anxiety every time you do not check your electronic devices. Maybe you have a fear of missing out on something important. Perhaps you often find yourself comparing yourself to others on social media, and this causes anxiety. And, if you struggle with chronic anxiety, maybe you find that the symptoms you are usually aware of related to your anxiety are increased or more frequently present.
I've also found that, sometimes, technology can be an unproductive distraction from reality. For example, I might stream a show or movie or scroll through social media instead of working on something I need to work on. I may also use technology as a distraction from something stressful, which could lead to avoiding dealing with that stressful situation instead of facing it. When I know that technology is related to elevated feelings of anxiety, I know I need to think about setting some boundaries with how I use technology.
How to Manage Anxiety Related to Technology
So how do you set those boundaries with technology? And how can these boundaries help reduce your anxiety?
- Assess what your anxiety is related to. For example, maybe specific social media platforms contribute to more anxious thoughts and feelings. Perhaps you are constantly texting and emailing, and your anxiety is related to repeatedly checking these notifications.
- Delete the app or turn off notifications. If you experience tremendous anxiety due to social media, delete the apps from your phone, or turn off notifications. I've turned off social media notifications from my phone, and I've found that this is helpful to eliminate this distraction that increases that anxiety related to checking notifications. Deleting the apps means that social media platforms are not as easily accessible, and you may be less likely to keep checking them.
- Turn devices off completely. Try setting aside only certain times you will answer emails, scroll through social media, or watch TV. You might find that setting these boundaries with technology helps you use it in a healthy way that does not increase your anxiety. This is something I have been doing with social media. It hasn't only helped to reduce the anxiety I feel related to technology, but it has also helped me be more productive.
- Spend time with family and friends -- in person. When you plan to text, communicate on social media, or email someone, try instead to communicate with that person in a face-to-face setting. Instead of picking up a device for entertainment, try spending time with those important to you instead.
Try these strategies to help you reduce any anxiety you experience related to technology. Share in the comments below if there are things that you have found helpful to reduce the anxiety you experience with technology.
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2021, October 28). When Technology Makes You Anxious, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, August 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2021/10/when-technology-makes-you-anxious