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How social networking can relieve your anxiety

When you are having one of those tough days, haven’t you felt like talking to someone and sharing your news?

But sometimes you feel awkward about calling a friend to tell them what’s going on?

Turns out you’re not the only one who feels that way.

There are many people who feel apprehensive about one-on-one interactions with their friends or family members as they worry that they may be bothering them.

But reaching out to someone and sharing your news makes you feel better by sharing your negative emotions and it helps restore your wellbeing.

A finding from a new study suggests that people who feel anxious about one-on-one interactions have now found a new way of expressing their feelings – through social networks in the form of microblogging.

Microblogging is sharing a short message to a vast audience on social media such as Facebook or Twitter.

By microblogging on social media, people can send a message in a more indirect manner enabling people to reach out without imposing a response as responses on social media are involuntary.

To test whether people are more likely to microblog when they are apprehensive, researchers arked one group of participants to write about a time when they had no one to talk to at a party and the other control group was asked to write about office products.

The participants who had social networks were to spend two minutes on their social media site. The researchers then asked them if they had microblogged. The results showed that those who felt socially apprehensive were more likely to microblog.

To test this further, the researcher conducted another experiment where one group of participants watched a clip from the movie, Silence of the Lambs, while the other group watched pictures from outer space.

The participants then answered questions on how likely they were to express themselves in three different forms of communication – microblogging, direct contact (a private message to a person) or in person.

The participants also answered a series of questions designed to measure their levels of social anxiety in a variety of situations.

The study found that people with a high social anxiety were more likely to micro blog after they experienced negative emotions like after watching the movie. However, people who had low social apprehension were more interested in direct messaging or face-to-face contact.

Having a direct conversation or communication is always ideal and there is a lot of research which shows that sharing online is not ideal. However this study shows that for some people, social networks enable them to find relief from their negative emotions and share in an indirect manner rather than remain isolated which can increase their anxiety even further.

Relying on social channels for all your communication is not ideal, but microblogging may provide much-needed buffer against those negative emotions when you feel the need to share your news without feeling anxious about contacting someone for a direct interaction.

Source: Journal of Consumer Psychology

Meena Azzollini

Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!

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