How Social Media Can Impact Your Mental Health
If your phone is feeling hot and overused in your hand, it’s time to put it down and finally re-evaluate your screen time and take the steps to scale down the use of social media. Social media is a networking community of users that share endless content on their daily lives, business, travel, fitness, beauty, and the arts. Throughout the world, we are able to connect to others through shared interests on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and now widely popular, Tik Tok. Absorbing your interests everyday can be enticing as sometimes it’s difficult for us to put our phones down. However, excessive use of social media can be directly related to mental health impairments such as anxiety and depression. Here are some ways social media might be negatively affecting your mental health.
Heightened feelings of depression and anxiety.
When we already are depressed or anxious, we scroll through social media apps, lay in bed all day, and fall deeper into that depression hole. Instead of pulling ourselves out, we absorb more of seeing other people happy. When we use less social media, we keep busy and go outside exposing ourselves to vitamin D from the sun, thus boosting our serotonin levels. Using less social media can reverse feelings of worsening depression and anxiety.
Feelings of dissatisfaction in your appearance and life.
When we see people who are obtaining luxurious possessions, buying homes and cars, and career positions, it’s becoming more common to compare our lives with others. This can become unhealthy as users develop feelings of dissatisfaction within their own lives. On social media people constantly share the highlights of their lives more than trials and tribulations they endure. If most of the content that is shared are people’s milestones and accomplishments, you may feel as if you aren’t “doing enough”.
Similarly these feelings occur when comparing appearances. Women specifically are getting cosmetic surgeries to alter their bodies, and unfortunately young ladies are being influenced to want their bodies to have this same image.
Coping mechanism in public and social settings.
In social settings people often turn to social media to avoid communicating and connecting with others. According to the Help Guide, when we feel anxious, awkward, or lonely we pull out our phone and browse social media. Living our human experience involves talking to new people, mingling and networking. When you are in public try putting your phone and away and think of relatable conversation starters to ease feelings of anxiety.
Oversharing details of your personal life.
Making milestone announcements on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is healthy and it’s rewarding to inform our friends and family members on latest accomplishments. Although, oversharing delicate details of your personal life on social media can be detrimental to your mental health. Backfired reactions from other users can also cause us to go back and forth with negative comments. Instead of using social media as a venting vehicle for intimate details, purchase a diary or talk to a close friend to release any built up frustrations caused by life’s hardships.
Fear of missing out on activities or hot topics.
When you see a Facebook or Instagram story of your peers on a villa resort out of the country, it may feel like you are missing out on all of the fun. Staying updated on Twitter topics such as celebrity news can have this same effect in fear of missing out on the conversation. You aren’t missing out on anything because you didn’t get the opportunity to rent a boat on the ocean or get tickets to Beyonce. Be secure that you don’t have to be a part of everything and you have unplanned activities to look forward to in the future.
Social media has numerous positive influences on our lives and thriving businesses, however, we must be mindful of too much personal social media use. According to the Global Web Index, an average of 3 hours a day is spent on social networks and messaging. Our brain goes on overdrive when we immerse ourselves into these digital communities for hours at a time. To combat this addiction, set appropriate screen time by referring to your settings. Modify social media to be used only for its various positive advantages, and you will see improvements in your mental health.
If you notice these issues worsening, please consult a mental health professional.
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