Constant Digital Connection = Anxiety? – Friday

Week 4 | Jesus Gets Anxiety

Listen instead of reading

Take a Moment

Ask God what He wants to show you before reading today

Read The Daily

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

Amy Van Slambrook (MA, LMHC) discusses How A Constant Digital Connection Can Lead to Anxiety

We live in a time when we can connect globally in an instant thanks to technology. But what happens when that same blessing turns into an anxiety-inducing dilemma?

Psychologist and best-selling author, Dr. Henry Cloud, points out that God designed our brains to need just three things to be happy—oxygen, glucose, and relationships that lead to connection. When measuring happiness, connection is the number one differentiating factor— the more we have it, the happier we are. 

Relationships Matter
Unfortunately, the converse is true as well—the less connection we have, the unhappier we become. This leads us to turn to social media for relationships, which often leads to anxiety and depression. In the last 15 years, anxiety and depression have increased by 70 percent! Not surprisingly, the frequency of people taking anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants has also risen dramatically. This may not be the first piece you’ve read about the importance of real connection, the dangers of virtual relationships and social media, and how both are transforming our culture—especially our mental well-being. Yet, we still seek connection in social media sites—email, text, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. All of these offer a behind-the-glass relationship that isn’t wrong; it’s just partial. This relationship provides some connection, but often an incomplete version that leaves us wanting more. 

Relationships Can Create Peace
So, we search some more and keep coming up short. There’s a good reason for this. The kind of connection that can calm the anxiety of isolation is found in face-to-face, voice-to-voice, presence-to-presence conversations—and not so much in the news of our digital friends (all 572 of them). In this world of a million life-hacks, deep, brain-satisfying, anxiety-reducing connection is not something that can be “hacked” despite our feverish attempts to do so.

In this world of a million life-hacks, deep, brain-satisfying, anxiety-reducing connection is not something that can be “hacked” despite our feverish attempts to do so, because this digital connection will never fully satisfy the God-created need in our spirit to be connected. 

Our brains and bodies benefit from any interaction with other people. In-person or non-virtual time with people significantly calms our anxiety and snuffs out burning isolation. How can you practically make this a priority? 

Schedule it. Make time for other people in real life by adding it to your calendar and sticking to it. Likewise, you can set limited, scheduled times to use social media in a healthy way.
Look up. I know I’m stating the obvious here, but simply looking up from your device and at your surroundings will prompt you to gain perspective. The real live world and real live people around you are pretty amazing—if we’re actually present.
Disconnect. Despite painful FOMO, anxiety, and withdrawal, the world will survive, and so will we. If you can’t do a full day without devices, start with an afternoon, or an hour, or 30 minutes! Just start. Notice how it feels. Take time to observe the people around you.

You can get the connection and relationships you desperately crave. You can overcome the anxiety and isolation our technology feeds. You can achieve balance through boundaries and free yourself from living life from behind the glass. It’s just one swipe (off) away.

Prayer for the Day

God what are you  showing me?  What am I going to do about it? 

God help me to see one person that I can serve through a kind word, random act of kindness, or simple gift today?

Make sure you complete the reading or comment today.

Read The New Testament In A Year

4 x 6 Plan | Read: Matthew 15:21-39 & Romans 13:8-14