Stress, anxiety, and depression
Online shopping, social networking, gaming, and chatting are steadily replacing real life interactions. It is becoming increasingly difficult to make technolife wise choices because we don’t want to get left behind in the technology race. However, it is affecting our body, mind, and soul – whether we are aware of it or not.
The reality is that very few people make the link between illnesses, stress, anxiety, and depression, and their constant and regular use of the internet. Because who would have thought that digital devices and technology, which are supposed to make life easier, can cause physical, mental, and spiritual challenges?
How does the overuse of technology cause stress, anxiety, and depression?
Social anxiety is the third largest mental health challenge worldwide. It is the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people. We are scared that others may judge and evaluate us negatively, or that we are embarrassed beyond repair.
For those suffering from this disorder and those even who don’t, the online world has made it possible to create a persona of the individual they ideally want to be. We can fabricate the ‘perfect’ look, craft the perfect response when chatting online, and hide behind a mask of indifference, perpetual happiness, and make-belief confidence.
However, when we are faced with real people and real-life situations, our palms get sweaty, our heartbeat increases, and we stumble for words. These ‘failed’ social interactions leave us feeling so bad about ourselves and our ineptness that we reach for a digital device to make us feel safe and secure, and of course socially acceptable.
Excessive internet use also causes depression. Cyberbullying, unrealistic comparisons, and thinking that we are not good enough can leave us feeling down and we lose interest in normal activities.
Ultimately, we lose our sense of self-worth and we live a life without joy, fulfilment, or purpose. We become anxiety-ridden, emotionally depleted, and depressed.
The overuse of technology also causes stress. However, in many instances we have become so disconnected from our body, mind, and spirit that we do not even realise that the digital world causes stress. We are bombarded with information, forced to keep up with the Jones’ thanks to social media, and need instant gratification to feel that we have accomplished our goals. In the process, we forget what life is truly about: authentic human connections, growth, and purpose.
It is essential that we constantly remind ourselves that the digital world is not real. And even though we try to hide online, there is so much more wonderful and real-life experiences beyond the internet. We just need to take the first steps out of our virtual comfort zones to fully appreciate life in all its dimensions again!