It’s only been ten and a half years since the first iPhone came out, but it’s hard to imagine a world without them. It’s also hard to imagine a world in which our phones don’t give us some low-key crazy anxiety. There are, however, ways to overcome anxiety in the digital age

What does digital anxiety look like?

Everywhere you look, people are on their phones, liking pictures on Instagram, and watching panda sneezes on Youtube. We have to keep up with work, friends, random connections. Constantly switching gears like this keeps us from processing anything completely – no wonder we have so much anxiety. The amount of information available to us can be absolutely overwhelming – and being in a society so reliant on technology has its negatives on top of its positives.

Tech reduces exposure to people

Replicated studies have suggested that technology is making us more anxious. One study found that there was a positive correlation between talking with others online and being more uncomfortable talking with others face-to-face.  

This is because, usually, technology allows us to avoid people. Uber and Lyft are testing out self-driving cars, Amazon is unveiling stores without cashiers, and items purchased are starting to be delivered using drones and robots.

All of this makes our lives very convenient, but it also makes us lose a lot of human contact. Of course we’re becoming intimidated by human interaction – it’s become so infrequent!

Forgetting how to socialize

Practices like ghosting are the results of us just not knowing how to deal with other humans anymore. Thinking of the perfect Bitmoji to send your best friend is a lot different than spending time with them and being able to interact with them. For instance, a study found that high schoolers who spend more time on their screens had lower levels of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and happiness. Maybe because they’re using social energy and “connecting,” but only in a superficial way.

More opportunities for anxiety

Social media, itself, can induce anxiety. We’re now trained to compare ourselves to others in the number of likes or followers we get. This often leads to feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness.  FOMO (the fear of missing out) can also lead to feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Also, cyberbullying and social shaming are way too common, with little hope of reigning them in.

Still some positives…

Although technology brings us struggles, we also have to take into account how it helps us connect.

While using technology improperly can cause a lot of problems, it can also lead to solutions.

Used properly, it helps us connect! We’re able to meet with people across the globe, and there have been new collaborative advancements in nearly every field. Our lives have generally become more convenient and easier.

And countering the isolating power of technology, one of Supportiv’s fundamentals is that there is power in connecting with people in relatable situations. Exposure to those you can relate to, in a setting as close to a real-time human dynamic as possible, is an advancement to reverse the negative ones.

Go forth and make the most of your digital connections!