You check your social media accounts first thing in the morning, don’t you? Do you finish your day the same way?
Perhaps you check in periodically throughout the day for quick updates, but before you know it, you’ve spent nearly an hour scrolling through recent posts. This is not at all unusual. Social media usage is quite common.
Instagram gained attention for reducing likes last year to stop the comparisons and bad feelings brought on by associating popularity with sharing content. But do these initiatives address mental health problems, or are they merely patching a wound?
It represents a slight improvement. There are still options for comparisons and feedback when you remove the likes. Persons can still make comparisons to other people and still provide comments.
While many of us love using social media to remain in touch, overuse can exacerbate feelings of anxiety, despair, loneliness, and fear of missing out. Change your routines and elevate your mood with these tips.
- 1 Impact of Social Media on Mental Health
- 2 How Does Social Media Affect Mental Health?
- 3 How Can You Limit Your Use of Social Media?
- 4 Conclusion
Impact of Social Media on Mental Health
The human species is a friendly animal. The quality of our relationships significantly impacts our mental health and enjoyment in life, which is why we require the company of others to prosper.
Research has shown that social interaction reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, improves self-esteem, brings comfort and joy, prevents loneliness, and even lengthens life. The absence of solid social ties, however, can seriously compromise your mental and emotional health.
Today, millions of people use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram to communicate with one another. While each has advantages, it’s crucial to remember that social media can never fully replace face-to-face interaction.
Direct physical contact with other people releases the hormones that reduce stress and make you feel happier, healthier, and more optimistic.
Ironically, social media, meant to bring people together, can make you feel more alone and isolated and aggravate mental health issues like anxiety and depression if you spend too much time using it.
It could be time to reevaluate your online behaviors and achieve a healthy balance if you’re using social media excessively and experience melancholy, dissatisfaction, frustration, or loneliness.
How Does Social Media Affect Mental Health?
Since social media is a relatively new technology, there hasn’t been much research done to determine whether using it would have positive or negative long-term effects.
But numerous studies have discovered a substantial correlation between using social media excessively and a higher risk of melancholy, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicide ideation. Social media may encourage negative experiences like:
1.) Feeling Insufficient in Your Life or Appearance
Even if you are aware that the photographs you are seeing on social media have been altered, they may cause you to feel anxious about your appearance or the circumstances of your life.
Similarly, we are all aware that other people frequently only discuss the positive aspects of their lives rather than the adverse events that everyone goes through.
However, it still makes you feel envious and unsatisfied when you go through a friend’s Photoshopped pictures of their exotic beach vacation or read about their exciting new job advancement.
2.) Fear of Missing Out
The phenomenon of FOMO has existed for much longer than social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Your self-esteem may suffer, anxiety may be sparked, and your use of social media may increase due to the perception that you are missing out on certain things.
Fear of missing out can make you pick up your phone repeatedly to check for updates or compulsively respond to every alert, even if doing so puts your safety and others at risk, prevents you from getting enough sleep at night, or forces you to prioritize social media interaction over real-life interactions.
According to a University of Pennsylvania study, frequent use of Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram does not help people feel less lonely. The study found that cutting back on social media can boost your overall well-being and reduce loneliness and isolation.
4. Anxiety and Depression
You can relieve stress and improve your mood by making eye contact with a caring person. If you prefer social media interaction over in-person relationships, you are more likely to experience mood disorders like anxiety and sadness.
About 10% of teenagers report being bullied on social media, and many others experience offensive comments.
Twitter and other social media platforms can serve as hubs for disseminating damaging rumors, lies, and abuse that can cause long-lasting emotional scars.
Using social media to post countless selfies and all of your private thoughts can lead to unhealthy self-centeredness and keep you disconnected from real-life relationships.
Dopamine, the “reward” chemical released after successful gambling, eating chocolate, or smoking, can be released in the brain in response to receiving a like, a share, or a positive response to a post.
Even if it starts to negatively impact other areas of your life, the more you’re rewarded, the more time you want to spend on social media.
7.) Positive Outcomes
Despite its shortcomings, social media is still a valuable tool for bringing together people and communities worldwide. Small-group networking through social media is advantageous for many.
Teenagers who struggle with anxiety and social skills can express themselves and connect with others through social media. As it allows people to connect and communicate with like-minded people, it can be especially beneficial for marginalized communities like LGBTQ+ communities.
Social media acts as a platform to give the voiceless a voice. For instance, people who have experienced assault and abuse can use online forums like the #MeToo community to express their opinions, share their struggles, and receive assistance.
Also, read – What is Megalophobia
How Can You Limit Your Use of Social Media?
The good news is that you can take steps to reduce your total use, whether you have a social media addiction or are simply using your applications more than you should. Take into account the following advice to help you maintain a better balance on social media:
Your smartphone’s social media apps should be deleted. Keeping them off your phone may help you spend less time on social media, even if you can access them on your computer.
Turn off your phone at work, school, during meals, and during leisure activities. Additionally, you can change the settings on each social networking app to disable certain notifications.
Make a decision about how much time you want to invest in social media each day. To help hold you accountable, set a timer. You should keep your computer, tablet, and phone out of your bedroom.
Find a new pastime that doesn’t involve technology. Sports, the arts, cooking classes, and more are examples. Make an effort to visit your friends and family in person when it’s feasible. To obtain real-life grounding, taking regular breaks from social media altogether is crucial.
Your break may last for a single day each week, a whole month, or an entire season, depending on your needs. Let yourself, not your social media account, be in charge of this choice.
Users have quick access to electronic communication and content exchange through social media. Although it has many beneficial advantages, users’ mental health may suffer.
Limiting social media use to 30 minutes daily can lessen FOMO and related feelings of isolation, anxiety, sadness, and sleep disturbances.
Social media’s impact on your mental health is significantly influenced by how and why you use it. Social media, for instance, could make you feel more alone and lonely. However, it can also help you connect with people who have similar problems in life or who have similar interests to yours.
Your connection with social media might be improved by realizing how your use affects you. Making little changes and utilizing social media more carefully can lead to a healthy relationship with it and yourself.
Additionally, remember that social media apps are often created to maintain your interest and encourage active use. Making cuts on your own may, therefore, not always be straightforward. If that is you, a therapist can offer additional guidance and help setting boundaries for more considerate social media use.
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