Is Social Media and Online News Causing My Anxiety?

If you’ve tried to manage your life by examining your options and choosing the best course of action, the past two years have probably played with your mind — big time.

Oh, yes, being wise, pragmatic, deliberate, and reasonably cautious has turned into a mental marathon where you plot a course and then two hours later rethink it again.

Oh, to be one of the carelessly inclined. You know who I’m talking about. The friend or relative who never seemed to plan a thing in advance and even when they did it was often a bad plan. They ignored your good advice and tended to still land on their feet but just barely. Everything was always up in the air and they had a high tolerance for risk.

Does that describe anybody you know?

I’ve taken pride most of my life in being conscious while driving and even though I often had to skip the “fun stuff”, I ended up ahead of the game at the end of the day. I had money saved, a house paid off, and no addictions to drugs and alcohol. I had managed to avoid the ex husband trap, the stepmother woes, and the unstable job lifestyle. I didn’t get everything that I wanted but then, I’m a pragmatist so as long as I got about 70% of what I thought I needed, I was good.

It was a way of life. It was my safety net. I preferred to give things up rather than take a risk that I might never recover from if you know what I mean.

The past two years have tested my resolve. It’s been a roller coaster ride to say the least. I’m living in a world where up is down and backwards is forwards. Every day that passes brings another change. Nothing feels dependable. From food chains, to delivery services, to the next COVID surge, it’s a fragile system.

I see people roaming about as though nothing has changed, however. It confuses me. Do they know something I don’t know? Do I have an option that I’m not aware of?

Then I realize that I’m watching those other people, the ones who have a high tolerance for risk and a low level of desire for thinking things through. They look so normal and happy. No furrowed brows. Just sitting in the local pub drinking a beer and shooting the shit like days gone by. Hooking up and hauling a complete stranger home as though COVID had never infected our communities.

At times, I envy them.

That’s right. Because here I am rearranging my plans based on best options available about every two days, maybe even more often. Everything feels tricky to maneuver. I make a plan and a new surge pops up. And, if that’s not enough, World War III suddenly seems likely.

Dang!

How on earth do I plan for that. I’m losing sleep trying to come up with a plan that might beat the system. I’ve been reasonably capable of doing that sort of thing in the past. Now? It’s just exhausting to try. I want to throw it all overboard and escape to a sunny location where no one speaks English, there’s no cell phone service, and life is simple.

Does a place like that even exist?

Probably not. Finally, I realize that I do have at least one option. I could stop reading social media and online news. At the very least, cut way back to, let me see, maybe once a week. Do I really need to have constant repeats of the stories of the hour? Do I need to be inundated with grim reality 24 hours a day? Is that even good for me?

Nope.

After all, if I managed to find that sunny location where there were no cell phones, wouldn’t my peace of mind be directly attached to the lack of news? Why can’t I turn it off on my own then? If that would improve my anxiety, why not?

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking that you’ve read this declaration many times before and it’s never ended well. And, you could be right. I might not be able to do it. This could be where I meet my own limitations. This could be the point at which my tolerance for risky behavior supersedes my desire to make good choices for my own mental health.

And, if that’s the case, then maybe I should just get that beer and do whatever I want by throwing caution to the wind and living in the moment. Because trying to figure out the next best move in this endless game of chess is slowly killing me.

How’s your anxiety level?

Teresa Roberts is a retired educator, author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.

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Teresa is an author, world traveler, and professional myth buster.

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Teresa Roberts

Teresa Roberts

Teresa is an author, world traveler, and professional myth buster.

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