You probably cannot imagine living a moment without your phone in today’s age of technological modernity. With countless applications and social media platforms that help us both stay in contact with family and friends and make new friends, life has become so much easier. However, there is often a downside to most good things. While being able to send a text to anyone we want in a matter of seconds has led to more efficiency in maintaining personal relations and professional work, studies have proved that something as trivial as texting can cause anxiety and stress in some people.
According to a Times of India report, a study conducted by Viber found that 1 in 5 people struggle to keep up with message responses and almost 1 in 6 ignore all messages because they feel overwhelmed. The study pays emphasis on how texting has evolved from simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a whole array of colorful emojis that put the interpreting skills of a person to test.
Text messaging is undeniably one of the most popular modes of communication presently and you are probably a part of various chat groups, either consisting of colleagues at work, friends or family. It initially feels good since it gives you a sense of belongingness but when it is overdone, i.e, when there are constant message notifications and countless text exchanges, it can become exhausting. The necessity to reply within a stipulated time period and entertain multiple friends, colleagues and family members becomes more of an obligation than a fun activity. This can take a serious toll on a person’s mental health.
A Guardian report says that people born between the early 80s and mid-90s, dubbed millennials “are feeling extremely overloaded”, and are being called “the burnout generation.” Since they were raised in a world that lacked advancements in technology, they cannot help but feel overwhelmed by the information and everything that social media has to offer.
Text anxiety arises from the obligation to be responsive and readily available and the fear of being called out. This can lead to delayed responses or make people avoid chats altogether.
Anxiety has always had a correlation with technological advancements that allowed text messages. Be it anxiety from a lover or a partner keeping you on wait in messages or from replying to your boss’ text, anxiety has always spiraled upwards. The pandemic has largely added to text messaging becoming the dominant mode of communication. The social overload has affected many of the people who were either new to such overwhelming emotions or those already suffering from anxiety.
When you get a text message from a friend, a lover, a family member or a colleague, you are hit with a feeling of a need to reply, even though you may not be in the right frame of mind or be preoccupied. However, it depends on you whether you want to reply immediately or not. There is a need to prioritize your mental health above anything else and if you feel guilty about not responding in time, the guilt will simply add to the anxiety. Experts recommend turning off notifications and keeping chats mute in order to keep the mind calm. You can also take a day or a few days off from the influence of your phone and other digital devices and adhere to more natural surroundings. What restricts us from doing so is the fear of missing out. The curiosity, the anxiety associated with missing out on an urgent update is what gets to people. At the end of the day, it is all about not letting that curiosity or fear get the better of your need to maintain your mental health.