Practical Tips for Managing Social Media Anxiety and Avoiding Online Triggers

The digital age has revolutionized the way we live and interact with one another.
With the rise of social media platforms, the world seems more connected than ever before.

In just a few clicks, we can share our thoughts and experiences with millions of people all around the globe.

However, this level of connectedness comes with its own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to our mental health.

Social media anxiety has become a widespread issue, with many people feeling the pressure to constantly present a perfect image of themselves online.

In this article, we will explore practical tips for managing social media anxiety and avoiding online triggers in order to promote better mental health and wellbeing.

Identify what triggers your social media anxiety and observe what changes you in the moment

Identifying the triggers of your social media anxiety is the first step towards managing it. Every person has their own unique set of triggers that may cause feelings of anxiety or stress in the moment. Some common triggers may include comparing oneself to others, fear of missing out (FOMO), cyberbullying, and viral trends that go against personal values or beliefs.

Once you have identified your triggers, observe what changes in the moment.

  • Does your heart rate increase?
  • Are you holding your breath?
  • Do you become tense?

Recognizing these physical and emotional changes can help you take control of your response to the trigger.

In the moment, try deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindful techniques to calm down. By observing your reactions, you can build awareness and learn to respond in a more positive way.

Avoid scrolling when feeling particularly vulnerable or overwhelmed

Avoiding social media when you’re feeling vulnerable or overwhelmed can help you avoid triggering your social media anxiety.
It’s important to be mindful of your emotional state and recognize when you need to take a break.

Here are a few practical tips for avoiding scrolling when you’re feeling particularly vulnerable:

  1. Establish clear boundaries around your social media use by setting specific times of the day when you can access it. Avoid scrolling before bed or first thing in the morning as it can impact your sleep and mental health.
  2. Turn off notifications: Notifications can be distracting and increase your anxiety levels. Consider turning off push notifications for social media apps to reduce the temptation to check.
  3. Find other ways to cope: Instead of turning to social media, find other ways to cope such as talking to a friend, practicing mindfulness, or exercise.
  4. Find other ways to cope: Instead of turning to social media, find other ways to cope such as talking to a friend, practicing mindfulness, or exercise.
  5. Unfollow triggering accounts: If there are specific accounts that trigger your anxiety, consider unfollowing them. It’s important to curate your social media feeds to include positive, uplifting content that benefits your overall wellbeing.
  6. Establish an accountability system: Enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to hold you accountable to your social media use. They can help keep you on track and provide support when you need it.

Focus on activities that bring you joy and make you feel connected to the world

Focusing on activities that bring you joy and make you feel connected to the world can help you manage social media anxiety.

Engaging in activities that you love can help you to reconnect with yourself, reduce stress levels, and boost your mood.

Some activities that can bring you joy and foster a sense of connection with the world include spending time with family and friends, engaging in creative pursuits, taking up a new hobby, or volunteering in your community.

By prioritizing these activities, you can increase your sense of self-worth, reinforce your values, and find purpose in your life beyond social media.

Reach out for help if needed – consider talking to someone who is knowledgeable about online safety or mental health issues

If you find that social media anxiety is affecting your daily life and causing significant distress, it’s essential to reach out for help.

Consider talking to someone who is knowledgeable about online safety or mental health issues.

This could be a trusted friend or family member, a therapist or counselor, or an online support group.

By reaching out for help, you can gain valuable insights, strategies, and resources to help manage your social media anxiety.

If you feel overwhelmed or anxious, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for support and guidance.

Understand what triggers your anxiety

Understanding what triggers your anxiety is an important step in managing social media anxiety. Triggers are unique to each individual, so it’s essential to be aware of what specific situations, accounts, or posts on social media cause you to feel triggered. Perhaps it’s comparing yourself to others, or the fear of missing out, or experiencing negative comments or cyberbullying.

By understanding these triggers, you can develop strategies to manage them better. Observing your emotional and physical reaction to a trigger can also help you develop awareness of your responses. This knowledge can help you recognize early signs and manage social media anxiety proactively.

Read more on how to deal with anxiety.

Mental Health & Social Media

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Create a schedule and stick to it – only use social media when you have allocated time for it

Creating a schedule and sticking to it can be an effective strategy to manage social media anxiety.

Allocate specific times of the day when you can access social media and limit your usage outside of those times.

By setting a schedule, you’re able to focus on other aspects of your life without the constant distraction of social media.

This schedule can also help you prioritize more important tasks, reduce stress and increase your productivity. Furthermore, it allows you to create healthy habits and routines, contributing to your mental health and wellbeing.

Use the mute and block features

Using the mute and block features on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram can be a powerful tool in managing your relationship with content that may trigger anxious feelings.

These features allow you to take control of your social media experience by hiding content that could potentially cause you distress.

The mute feature allows you to silence content from specific users without unfollowing them, while the block feature removes their content from your feed entirely.
By utilizing these features, you can curate your social media feeds to be more positive and uplifting, which can go a long way in reducing feelings of anxiety.

While it may be challenging to start using them, with time, you’ll find that it’s easier to manage your social media experience and reduce your anxiety by creating a safe and healthy space.

Use the “Your Time on Social Media” feature available on many platforms to keep track of how much time you are spending online daily

Many social media platforms now have a “Your Time on Social Media” feature which tracks the amount of time you spend on the app.

This feature can be a helpful tool in managing social media anxiety by providing insight into your usage patterns.

By checking this function regularly, you can become more mindful of your social media habits and adjust them accordingly.

If you notice that you’re spending an excessive amount of time on social media, it may be a sign that you need to take a break or spend more time engaging in other activities.
This feature can also be used to limit or restrict your social media usage, so you can ensure that you’re balancing your time spent on social media with other aspects of your life.

Moderation is key when it comes to social media, and using this feature can help you develop healthier online habits and reduce social media-related anxiety.

Managing social media anxiety is possible by following some practical tips. It’s important to be mindful of your social media use and how it affects your emotional and mental wellbeing.

By developing better habits, curating your social media feeds, and seeking support when needed, you can reduce anxiety and promote a healthier balance in your life.

Social media should enrich your life, not cause you distress, and that it’s up to you to create a positive and uplifting online experience.

If you think social media is negatively affecting your mental health and you want help, AE Psychotherapy is here for you.


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