In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s not surprising that many of us forget to let our hair down once in a while. In fact, an extraordinarily high percentage of us report that we are more stressed than ever before. So you would think that the weekend couldn’t come for fast enough for many of us, or that any time spent away from work would be spent relaxing, right? Well, perhaps things aren’t so simple anymore.
Temporarily disregarding financial and family pressures, more and more of our free time is spent using social media – everything from Facebook, to twitter and Instagram. But what has that got to do with stress, and more to the point what has that got to do with forgetting how to enjoy ourselves?
Recent studies have shown a high correlation between feelings of insecurity and high social media usage. This is perhaps due largely to the comparisons we draw between our own lives and those of others – we are constantly bombarded with pictures of people out and about, enjoying social events and updates about what people are up to. In many ways platforms such as twitter, Facebook and Instagram are merely ‘highlight’ reels of an edited reality, but all the same these updates are constant and convincing. And so in turn, understandably many of us like to post regular updates about our own lives, share where we’re going and with whom. This in itself isn’t wholly problematic, but the cycle of constantly comparing, constantly competing, is – humans are in essence social creatures, we crave interaction with one another and as human nature dictates, we are also prone to envy. Cue pictures, posts and updates as we try to prove that we are also having just as much fun as everyone else.
Remember the last time you were out socially…chances are, at some point you were stopped by someone to take a picture, which shortly afterwards was posted on social media. Or most likely you were tagged in a Facebook post, alongside all the other people you were out with, detailing how great everything is. It’s almost like making sure there is evidence for all the fun you’re having, whilst simultaneously interrupting the fun. It makes no sense. Remember the last concert you went to…how many people were stood there watching it through a screen pointed towards the stage? The answer, too many. It’s as though we’ve forgotten how to simply enjoy ourselves and to enjoy the moment exactly as it is.
Obviously there is some dispute as to whether increased use of social media does in fact cause stress – one such study by the Pew Research Center argues exactly that. But irrespective of whether you believe that social media can cause additional strain and stresses, the fact remains that more and more of our lives are uploaded to social media. Maybe we ought to remember to put down the phone, disconnect from the internet and slow down to enjoy the moment at least once in a while. Who knows, you might find you like it?…