Social Media and Anxiety

I watched yesterday’s episode of the Philip DeFranco Show on YouTube this morning. In it, Phil talked about anxiety levels in professional athletes and how social media has created anxiety levels in younger people that are a lot higher than ever before. He was specifically talking about people from his generation and younger, which he referenced as millennials or the generation that had MySpace when they were in high school.

It really got me thinking about my life in and then out of school. When I was in high school, the world seemed like a terrible place. I got along with most of the other kids, but it seemed like a world of judgement that was placed on me by a whole bunch of other people that didn’t fit in either. When I got out of school, I started to realize that the world functioned with completely different pressures. And once I understood those pressures, I started to feel comfortable with myself and my place in the world. Because those new pressures weren’t created by other uncertain people but by generations of people that were just trying to cut out a place for themselves in the world. They were people who, for the most part, realized that you get out of the world what you put into it and work toward.

And I know that there are people my age and older who still don’t understand this and may still be lost in that high school world mentality. But Phil’s comments made me realize that, to a certain degree, these younger generations use social media to keep the world outside of high school as much like the world inside high school. And maybe that is why I never really connected with social media. Because once you get out of that system and see the world in a completely different light, that system has no value to you anymore.

That social media mindset is driven by the force behind the old saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” The application here being that the only people that are influencing other’s understanding of the world around them are the people that are talking the most. Those people who are either driven by an insecurity that makes them think they can sincerely connect with a large group of people online or those that do not understand that you have to work to articulate yourself if you want people to understand you. And that is really not an accurate representation of what is going on in our day to day lives.

So, I am really saying all of this to give myself a reminder to be constantly aware that there are kids and adults of all ages that have never really experienced the world outside of that system. And that we all could stand to find a way to help them break free from that mindset. Because, I hope, then they can learn to lose the anxiety and trust in themselves.

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