I read an article recently about the way we can suffer from “Secondhand Stress” and I felt like it was speaking directly to the questions that have been haunting me over the past two months.
“In our highly connected working world, we are hyper-exposed to other people. This means negative emotions and stress become even more contagious as we have high exposure to negative comments on news articles and social media; stressed body language of financial news shows; stressed out people on our subways and planes; and open office plans where you can see everyone’s nonverbals. In such a highly connected world, we need to find ways to improve our emotional immune system, otherwise we risk the negative effects of second hand stress.”
That’s it. My emotional immune system in shot. How do I know? My generalized anxiety has become less of a low buzz and more of a piercing alarm. In the past month, I have had to fight off multiple panic attacks.
It has all just become too much. My online habits have to change.
This doesn’t mean I will ignore the problems of the world or not be involved on the internet. But it does mean that I am going to stop scrolling for a while. Well, ok, not completely. But for the majority of my day and maybe even week, I will go directly to my private Facebook groups without scrolling the homepage. I will respond to Twitter questions and comments without scrolling my feed. I will post pictures on Instagram without always looking at yours. Maybe this is selfish, but this is what my body, mind and soul need right now.
Why not unplug completely? Simply put, the internet brings countless blessings to my life. I have many real life friendships, job opportunities and things that enrich my life that are the result of being online. Plus, I still want to blog, share life, learn, and grow. I just need to figure out how to navigate social media in a less stressful way without letting it distract me from my life.
I know I have made these kind of declarations before, but they were always for the short term. This time I need more than a weekend reset.
Hopefully giving up the endless scrolling will lead to more writing, more reading, and more space for creativity. Social media is quite noisy if you think about it, maybe the things I struggle with will have room to breathe if I give them more quiet.
It’s time to do less scrolling and more living.
How about you? Do you suffer from secondhand stress? Do you get sucked into distractions?