Hello anxiety, my old friend. If you suffer from anxiety, you know exactly what it’s like to feel panicked and sick and overwhelmed over a minor problem, or maybe even nothing at all! Try explaining that to someone who asks “what’s wrong? Are you okay?” Yeah, I’m fine, I think maybe I’m just dying. It’s chill, though. (Note: anxiety is the opposite of chill.)
The New York Times recently posted an article addressing why girls tend to have more anxiety than boys, written by Leonard SAX, MD, PhD. He sees it in his practice all the time: “The laid-back, underachieving boy; the hyperachieving, anxious girl.”
A couple has two kids. The boy isn’t working hard in school and his grades are slipping when his parents reach out to Dr. Sax. The girl, on the otherhand, has straight A’s, lots of friends, and is involved in athletics. On the outside, she’s perfect, but on the inside she has serious issues. She has problems sleeping; she wakes up in the middle of the night regretting eating a whole slice of pizza, and she was so unhappy with herself that she began cutting herself in places her parents won’t see.
Research shows that girls become unhappy with their bodies during adolescence while boys become happier with their bodies. Another difference between girls and boys is the way they use social media: girls are more likely to post pictures of themselves and their bodies, while boys post pictures of things they’ve done. If the boy’s friends don’t like his picture of his swimming trophy, he doesn’t care because he’s already won. If a girl’s friend’s don’t like her picture of her in a bikini, she’ll take it more personally.
Dr. Sax also points out that boys tend to overestimate how interesting their life is. They also spend most of their time playing video games, which is a game everyone can win eventually, if you just try hard enough and practice. There is no way to “win” at social media. Young girls just keep filtering and Facetuning until they’re happy with how the picture turns out, but it’s never enough. Someone is always prettier, always skinnier, and you’re just, well, you.
The study focuses on boys and girls, but even though we’ve definitely passed the adolescent period of our lives, these issues still persist. Girls never feel good enough or happy in their own skin, while boys are perfectly (even delusionally) content with their lives.
The solution? Stop caring so much about social media. Easier said than done, I know. But look at guys: they don’t care about likes, they don’t need validation from social media to have a sense of self-worth, and they’re happy. They have friends. They’re well-liked.
I never thought I’d say this, but maybe it’s time girls start acting more like boys..
[via New York Times]
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