JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, New Jersey –
Do you ever find yourself scrolling through your newsfeed only to find you feel worse than you did the moment before?
While phones allow us to communicate with others and even keep in touch with people who are far away, they can actually cause anxiety and stress.
“For the younger generation, social media is an extension of their values,” said Jacklyn Urmey, 514th Air Mobility Wing director of psychological health at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, July 14.
Seeing posts of what others are experiencing can actually elicit a subconscious stress response. The stress can be triggered by anything that affects a person such as a “fear of missing out” or a sense of loneliness.
People tend to post when they are doing something others would find entertaining or fun, as a result it may seem like their lives are perfect. Someone viewing the post could then feel a sense of inadequacy by comparison.
“What you see on social media is not real life,” Urmey said. “The goal is to modify damaging use and find appropriate limits.”
Whether it’s simply habitual or an actual addiction, the damaging use of social media can become a vicious cycle. In either case, if you find yourself frequently stressed while using it, it may be time to consider a break.
By taking a break from social media once in a while, one can actually decrease their stress levels.
Aside from quitting social media cold turkey, some skills a person can employ to combat stress are managing perfectionism, learning to tolerate anxiety, finding values to counter comparison anxiety, knowing and applying values, and developing resilience to better tolerate stress.
There are also resources such as websites and apps that members can use to combat stress such as Military One Source, a free resource for eligible service members, including active duty, National Guard, Reserve and immediate family members and survivors of those members.