Advances in technology have dramatically changed the way we live our lives over the last few decades. Although this has brought about many positive changes, experts are now beginning to question whether or not technology is actually making us more anxious than ever before.
Anxiety is a growing epidemic in the UK. In this country alone, it now affects one in every 25 people, the equivalent of 8.2 million people.
Why have we become so anxious?
Money worries, relationship breakdowns, a stressful job and trying to raise children are commonly cited causes of stress.
Recent studies are starting to link new pressures to the decline in our mental health and it’s thought that ‘modern-day living’ is a factor. As the world becomes increasingly dependent on technology, research is suggesting that this is causing people to feel progressively anxious for a number of reasons:
- People are working increasingly long hours due to having remote access to work emails and systems via their mobile phones. This means that people are never fully switching off from work and relaxing, so they feel the pressure to be on-call at all times.
- Women have long felt the pressure from television and magazines when it comes to how they look. The rise of social media has created an additional source of stress and it’s increasingly difficult for people to escape the ideal of achieving the ‘perfect’ body. And in recent years, the number of men suffering from eating disorders and body image issues has risen dramatically.
- Social media has also created a culture of constant comparison and a sense of inadequacy. When a person sees friends posting updates this can cause a natural reaction in people, a feeling they aren’t achieving as much as their peers. They focus on the things they don’t have, rather than what they do.
- Modern technology means many people now communicate via email, text message, social media or WhatsApp. Due to the ease of virtual messaging, people are spending less time communicating with others face-to-face. Research has found that being around loved ones is beneficial to a person’s mental health but, sadly, people are spending less and less time doing it. Even when in the company of friends and family, many people end up being distracted by their phones so the quality of the time spent with others is compromised.
- Financial anxiety is being made worth by the ease of spending via online shopping outlets.
- Modern technology also sees vast reams of information available at the touch of a button. This enables people to carry out destructive behaviours easily and even anonymously. For example, someone with an eating disorder can quickly find tips on how to be sick; a gambling addict can lose a lot of money quickly, and a sex addict can engage in risky sexual behaviours with strangers.
How to combat anxiety
Speaking with your doctor is a great place to start. They can advise you about methods to improve your lifestyle to alleviate your symptoms. They can also refer you to talking therapy or, they may prescribe anti-anxiety drugs.
Simple steps to implement include reducing your caffeine intake, consuming less sugar, quitting smoking, exercising more, improving sleep, and drinking less alcohol. Spending time with loved ones, taking up a hobby and reading self-help books are also great ways of reducing any feelings of anxiety.
If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering with anxiety, please feel free to contact Life Works in the strictest of confidence and we will be able to discuss the different treatment options with you including cognitive behavioural therapy, group counselling and individual sessions.