I have a love/hate relationship with the internet.
On the one hand, if it weren't for the internet, I wouldn't even have this blog. I wouldn't have any social media accounts or a smart phone to access them whenever and wherever I want. But that's also the problem.
We're living in an age when anything you'd ever want to know is just a Google search away. Sometimes I love the convenience of checking the score of the game when I can't watch it, figuring out what other movie that actor was in before it drives me CRAZY, or whipping up a batch of homemade blueberry muffins from a recipe I found on Pinterest.
But there are times when having more info than I ever needed can send me into a tailspin of distraction, worry and anxiety. I've seen friends get together and post pictures on Facebook, even though I never got an invite. I've wasted hours of precious time scrolling through Instagram and Twitter at other people's lives and opinions, somehow losing myself in the process. Even when I'm not feeling well, I search every symptom to figure out what's wrong instead of waiting for a professional's opinion. Instances like these prove that information overload can be detrimental to my physical and mental health.
Finding Balance with Social Media
One particular day after scrolling through Instagram, I felt super inadequate. Let that sink in. An app made me - a grown adult woman - feel inadequate, because I was comparing myself to others. I felt so foolish that I had allowed social media to have that sort of power over me - so I immediately set a timer on all of my accounts. No more mindless scrolling! Setting a timer was as easy as changing a setting in the app.
If you're struggling with mindless scrolling and comparing yourself to others on social media, I highly recommend scaling back. You will immediately feel a weight lifted by setting boundaries for yourself, and you'll be able to better focus on your goals.
And please - let's agree to be better about putting our phones away when we're spending time with people. I'm guilty of this too! But it's something my generation needs to improve if we want to enjoy authentic relationships.
When Too Much Info Leads to Anxiety
If information overload is sending you into an anxiety meltdown, remember that the info you find online will not actually change or solve your problems. It may lead to answers, but it could also lead you to worry for no reason about things that are outside of your control. If you're genuinely concerned about something, take action; don't allow worry to consume you.
As a believer, I know that no matter what I'm anxious about, I can take it to the Lord in prayer to lift that burden from my shoulders. Sometimes the information I find can overwhelm me and cause me to doubt, and I rely on instant answers at my fingertips. Prayer allows me to give those doubts over to the Lord, trust in His goodness, and wait on His timing.
Balanced living in the internet age requires self-discipline. Learn to step away when you know that information overload will cause you to stumble. Surround yourself with hobbies and people that make you feel good about yourself and cultivate a healthy walk with the Lord. If you know your limits and set boundaries, you can live in balance with the information at your fingertips.