We live in a world of information technology overload – is it making you anxious?

11 Sep

We all know the assumed benefits of technology. We can probably even rattle off the benefits like a shopping list. It makes us productive, it puts us in touch with savings, it saves us time and expands our lifespans. Yes, the list goes on and on, but on the other end of the spectrum, we have to admit that technology can make our lives a little bit worse as well. As humans, we’re not technically designed to handle and manage all this information technology.

What is there to be anxious about

If you suffer mild anxiety from technology, trust that you are not alone. In some cases, individuals can experience severe anxiety disorders as a result of information technology overload. And here’s how it happens…

  • Information overload – Having access to many resources and information is great, but it can result in uncertainty and a feeling of always having to know more. This is information overload and can be quite a stressful feeling.
  • Distraction – You know all those notifications that come through at all hours of the day? Emails, WhatsApp messages, Facebook notifications and LinkedIn alerts? This is only a small list of the notifications you probably receive. Well, these can cause distraction to the point of feeling stressed out. Your chances of getting anything done without distracting notifications? Probably impossible.
  • General lack of certainty and trust in your own recall – “Google it” is something that is constantly said, in the workplace, in social settings and even in the family environment. There’s a quick answer to everything, thanks to technology, but how do we feel when we don’t have access to it? We feel uncertain, and that’s stressful.
  • Anti-social behaviour – We spend so much time on our devices that we forget about the people who are physically around us. Trends show that people spend more time on social media platforms when they are socialising with a group than ever before.
  • Lack of privacy leading to public judgement – It’s human nature to want to fit in and be accepted. Unfortunately, public social media posts can lead to a lack of privacy and judgement from others. The fear of this can cause anxiety for most people.
  • Life dissatisfaction – If we had nothing to compare our life progress and activities to, we would all be a lot happier. Unfortunately, technology makes it possible for individuals to compare themselves with others. This leads to a general feeling of life dissatisfaction and those who don’t feel they are “doing life right” or having an exciting existence, anxiety can creep in.

It’s True, Information Technology is Stressing me out! What to do

If you’re suffering from any of these information technology inspired stresses, you can try the following:

  • Take a break. Set some time aside to be device and technology free. Give yourself time to relax, unwind and stop stressing about the outside world. Be it an evening or a weekend, it can do you the world of good.
  • Be selective with those notifications. Pick up your device and turn off notifications for non-essential apps and services. Control your habitat.
  • Limit the amount of time that you spend on social media. Perhaps limit social media use to your computer and remove the apps from your phone.
  • Don’t know the answer to a question? That’s okay, step away from the phone. You don’t have to search for the answer to everything. Life’s meant to have a bit of mystery.

You don’t have to remove all forms of information technology from your life to avoid the anxiety that it causes. Being self-disciplined and aware of the risks is putting a good foot forward. One such risk is personal security – be disciplined about backing up your data. Don’t google it – get in touch!


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