Updated: Oct 17
Supporting Our Mental Health Amidst the Digital Deluge
TL:DR: The 3 Ns
What is Digital Deluge?
Imagine trying to drink water from a fire hose – that's just like the unceasing flow of data, messages, images, notifications, and content that we receive through our devices every day.
Globally, people spent an average of about 2 hours and 25 minutes per day on social media.
Gen Z and Millennials, tend to spend a significantly higher amount of time on social media.
It took only 5 minutes per day of children watching distressing images on social media to develop stress and behavioral excesses.
The Unseen Toll of Digital Exposure: Secondary Trauma
The constant barrage of distressing news, images, and stories on social media platforms can subtly and cumulatively impact our mental health. From the relentless stream of global crises to personal stories of pain and struggle, our digital environments expose us to trauma that we may internalize, leading to stress, anxiety, and even symptoms akin to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Secondary trauma, or vicarious trauma, refers to the emotional duress that occurs when an individual is exposed to traumatic events indirectly, often through media or hearing about another person’s traumatic experiences
👀 Watch For
🚩 Distorted Perceptions
🚩 Arousal / Reactivity
Action Steps to Reduce Symptoms
We are usually not going to remove our social media consumption from our daily lives, so recommendations like digital "detox" are ineffective. Treatments for any stress isn't to "avoid stress" altogether, it's how we reaction once we are in a stress response and how we can get ourselves back to a well state.
Look familiar? If we've worked together at any point, you've most likely heard about the 3 Ns, how does it work?
It's been a long day at work, you've gotten home, made dinner, and now are sitting on the couch, TV on, and scrolling (finally! you time). Your feed starts showing you news titles, personal accounts of someone's journey, dance reels, vacation reels, then world news, maybe images of an earthquake, a shooting, a parent's plea. You start to feel your heart rate increase. You can't sleep that night and the next day, you're feeling irritable, stressed, and you can't stop thinking about what you saw online. 🛑
Notice Ya Body (Inside & Out)
My heart rate is sky rocketing, I'm fatigued, and I'm honestly really sad about what I saw.
Questions to ask include: where in your body do you feel the anxiety? Where is it the most intense? What other sensations do you notice in your body? If there was a temperature to the anxiety, what would it be? If you could touch it, what would the texture feel like? How big is it? Is there a shape to it? Notice if it moves or is still)
Name What's Going On (aka Acceptance)
I'm feeling confused, I'm having the feeling that I'm anxious, I'm feeling that I'm angry
Neutralize Ya Body
I am taking a deep breath.
The ONLY way to calm a threatened and emotional body is to regulate the breathing. Being intentional - counting breaths - filling the belly with air and breathing out the stored energy that is not serving you. Everything AFTER intentional breathing is not self-regulation, but self-care. After breathing is regulated, engage in activities that bring you joy.
This is one example of the 3 Ns.
🌏 Our responses to what are are seeing on social media isn't good or bad. It's natural. Judging ourselves for having compassion for others and our world is what makes us uniquely human.
Stay Alert Friends,