Social Media, Stress, and Changing Habits - Part 1

Because I specialize in anxiety, I know how frequently addictive behaviors can co-occur.

I even have clients on my schedule specifically because of their media addiction, with anxiety as the underlying concern. So, I was so happy to talk with Huffington Post earlier this year on "going dry for a month" regarding tech, social media, and smartphones.

The reason addictive behaviors can occur so frequently is because anxiety is tough to deal with. And an anxious mind feels better when it’s distracting itself with media, sugar, or alcohol. All can be self-medicating behaviors.

Excessive social media use affects the body and the brain.

Excessive social media use, to the point where it feels like you have to check it, can lead to an increase in stress and anxiety. We’re still in the New World when it comes to looking at the long term effects of social media, and at the same time there are few things we know for sure: 

  • We know it’s not healthy to stare at screens for too long.
  • We know that frequent phone usage before bed impact sleep habits.
  • We know that our posture is a lot worse when we’re hunched over a phone or a computer, and poor posture can be associated with actually lowering a person’s mood.
  • We also know that some studies have shown a direct correlation between smartphone use and rates of anxiety and depression

What happens physically/mentally when you quit social media or go on a tech cleanse? Read more in part two of this series!

Do you have twenty tabs open on your computer while reading this on your phone? Did you feel a twinge of anxiety as soon as I suggested you take a break from your phone? Does your anxiety get worse with every post someone else makes? Well, it might be time to talk to a counselor.

Kelsey Torgerson specializes in anxiety in kids, teens, and college students. Her office is located in Clayton, MO, and she works with kids, teens, and college students throughout St. Louis City, County, University City, Ladue, Town and Country, Creve Couer, Richmond Heights, and Brentwood. You can reach her at