Anger is an emotion often frowned upon, although we all experience it. At Meaningful Alignment, we have been discussing why everyone is so angry and why we need to stop deflecting our anger onto others. But is our use of social media fueling this anger?
Waiting in long lines at restaurants or grocery stores, getting stuck in traffic, or being placed on hold for extended periods of time when calling a vendor — are situations we know all too well that cause frustration and make us more intolerant of others.
From my observation, one of the main culprits of increasing anger is the prevalence of social media. It seems like posts that send a positive message are often ignored and that people prefer to cling to negative stories, memes, and posts.
Our brains are hardwired with a “negativity bias.” We are built to be more sensitive to negative information. Our brains literally react more intensely to negativity, which in turn affects our mood and our reactions. It comes from our innate desire to flee from danger or face it head-on.
The problem is that negativity is not coming from an immediate outside threat that we need to prepare to fight. It’s coming from the screens in our pockets, our living rooms, and in our workplace.
The technological-imposed barrier between us and others allows us to be more emotional and can reduce our inhibitions. If you were sitting next to someone, would you honestly say the same things you feel comfortable sharing in a post online?
Most likely, you hesitated when you read that question. But why? What is the difference between saying something to someone’s face and saying something for a thousand people to see online?
Social media provides the opportunity for people to share whatever they want without the repercussions they might experience in the face-to-face world. This makes it so much easier to be the one to put a negative post out in the world or to engage with those who post the same content.
Negative messages, quotes, and jokes are intoxicating and draw us in. So, be mindful of the source and intention of the post. Most negative posts are designed to draw you in, keep you searching for more, and engage you for extended periods of time.
What can we do?
First: Modify your social media usage because it has a direct impact on your mood. If you write a post and feel good re-reading it, send it on its way! But if there is a twinge of uncertainty… you get the picture. (It’s also a good idea to see how much time you really spend on social media every day.)
Second: If you are angry at something, in particular, explore ways to make a change. Volunteer your time toward the issue or cause that is important to you. Put your frustration to work and improve the problem.
Third: Exercise more! Especially get out into nature. Nature has a calming effect on us, and getting our blood flowing is a natural stress reliever.
Fourth: Seek help. If you find that your tolerance is getting lower and you don’t seem to have the patience you used to have, perhaps there is more to explore with a professional.
Anger is an invasive emotion. It takes over your mood, impacts your actions, and can harm your relationship with others. That is why it is essential to be mindful and conscious of the content you allow to fuel your mind. There are ways to reduce the impact of negativity in your life.
Social media has its place in society, and I believe that it’s the genie that will never go back in the bottle, but it doesn’t have to be an endless stream of debates, politics, and unrest. Just as we can choose to fuel the negativity, we can also choose to use it as a platform for positivity. Find ways to use social media to improve your mental health.
Let your platform inspire, uplift, and encourage others to be their best.
Our Brain’s Negative Bias:
How We Can Use Social Media To Improve Our Lives:
Stop Blaming Others When You’re Angry:
Why Is Everyone So Angry?: