The Illusion of Perfection: Technical and Mental Health


  • Wendy Rose Gold
  • Translation: Hafsa Muhammad
  • Review by: Mustafa Hindi
  • Edited by: Nourhan Mahmoud

The age of technology provided us with access to an excess of information and facilitation of various aspects of life and increased the possibility of our communication with others around the world, but despite this it has a few negative aspects.

For example; One study found that spending so much time on the Internet is addictive, it has a powerful effect on mental health. Even the non-addictive use of the internet has a negative effect on us.

Says Dr. Lisa Strowman, a psychotherapist and founder of the Digital Citizens Academy: “Our tech-heavy world inevitably leads to heightened stress in individuals of all ages.

In the past ten years, I witnessed a huge jump in my private practice in the number of people suffering from stress and anxiety disorders as a direct result of the use of technology. Stress generally negatively affects our general health and safety by disrupting our body’s normal pattern and rhythm. Such as digestion, sleep and immunity.

Subtle technical pressures

Many of the disadvantages of technology have been discussed in a broad sector, but it is also important to clarify the more hidden stressors that they cause; We can better reduce the anxiety caused by it by understanding what triggers the stress unexpectedly.

Stay away from our smartphones

It’s amazing that we actually have computers in our pockets, but we have become so attached to our devices that putting them aside is difficult. It is difficult to resist the urge to read a new text message after hearing the notification, even if we are about to do something important; Like driving a car, crossing the road, or spending time with those we love, our hands extend towards our phones as a natural response if even a minute has passed during which we feel bored or lonely.

“We have formed a kind of“ dependency ”relationship with our phones to be connected to them all the time, Strowman says. Because now we are able to access the Internet, do banking, listen to music, and a whole lot more. Phones have become all of our lives, so there is a fear of staying without them; This fear then leads to stress because we have a feeling of constant need to stay in touch. ”

There’s even a term for fear of being away from the phone: nomophobia [رهاب فقدان الهاتف المحمول].

Dr. Strowman says we can reduce the anxieties that lead us to smartphone use by setting non-negotiable limits for ourselves. These health limits include not using it while eating, at social events, before bedtime, or in the bathroom. It could also impose fixed time limits on the time you spend on your phone or a specific app.

It may take time before you get used to the lack of phone use, but finding the right balance will eventually give you a sense of control.

Correspondence concern

It is human nature to read the minutest details, and text messaging in particular brings out this aspect of us well.

For example, a short response to your long letter may be interpreted as a cold and indifferent reaction, and seeing a message received without being met with an immediate response may make you feel that the other is intentionally ignoring you, and then you begin to ask, “Did I do something wrong? Do they still appreciate and love you?” Wound or hurt them?). Even the signs that appear while someone is writing a letter can trigger a certain amount of stress.

The truth is that there is much more to gain in direct contact than textual communication gives you, and that obsession and excessive attention to those tiny details does more harm than good.

Notice how often you feel anxious during text messaging, then ask yourself if there is a reasonable reason why you are feeling this way, and then ask yourself again what you can do to relieve that anxiety.

In many cases, the answer is to distance yourself from the phone and occupy your time with things that bring you joy, such as a hobby, going out for a walk, or spending time with those you love. Or focus on work and going to the gym; Add to that interviewing or calling the person you are on the ground … all of these things may quell a lot of anxiety.

Obsessed with video games

Online games can be fun and exciting; But many of them are designed to make it easy to get addicted. Maybe we get along with our team members and feel we don’t leave the game when we should, or maybe we spend a lot of our free time playing while neglecting other important activities such as exercise, healthy eating, or real life practice.

Says Dr. Strowman: “For some people, video games and the time spent traversing them have become a second life. You may spend thousands of hours fighting, competing and practicing to get your best out during the game, which causes anxiety for the players, so they feel that every minute they spend away from the game is a minute of waste and nothing.

This is not likely to be surprising. The key to avoiding the anxieties of video games is to limit the time you spend playing. Again, it’s about setting healthy boundaries and acknowledging and stopping unhealthy abuse. Doing a healthy activity that crowds out video games will reduce the time you spend in front of the screen and add interest outside and apart from electronic games.

Constant self-criticism in front of other people’s experiences

While social media connects us with each other, it is important to know how constant exposure to it can harm our mental health. For example, browsing Instagram or Facebook, and seeing other people’s happy faces, pictures of their beautiful trips and their dazzling dinners, may sometimes make us feel discontent with our current situation and our lives.

Says Dr. Straumann: “Social media is a major stress factor these days for several reasons. But the main pressure is the constant ambition to be “the focus of attention on Instagram” and the endless comparisons that we are subjected to day and night. “

“The stress caused by your feeling the need to share everything you watch, eat and everything you do is very real and is growing every day,” she continues. Not only is pressure forcing you to always participate to keep abreast of the changes, but also pressure that pushes you to compare your body, your life, and your experiences with those of your peers and strangers, which creates unrealistic expectations about life.

With all that said, it is important to remember that the impressive part of other people’s lives is only 5% of theirs; They include the most flattering photos, best moments, awards, holidays, and anniversaries. Even a little look at your photo history can cause a bit of jealousy.

It’s interesting that we’re starting to notice things turning around here; Regular folks and influential celebrities are beginning to have compassion and share pictures with less favors. We’re starting to see more real content.

This may be helpful, but it doesn’t mean you have to feel the pressure of being “real”, nor does it even mean that what you see is completely real.

It’s not easy, but the best thing you can do – says Dr. Strowman- is to deliberately withdraw from social media.

She says, “Live your present, live your life, and stop feeling that your every move needs to be documented or talked about. Remember, too, that pictures do not say everything about a person’s life, and that carefully curated posts are only the happiest, best, and most attractive part of the pictures that try to inspire you with perfection. ”


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