How Does Social Media Affect Our Mental Health?
‘Like’ it or not, social media is here to stay.
It can be used as a tool to improve or disrupt our lives if we let it. Using social media excessively can cause anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
So, how can you change your habits to use social media without it disrupting your life?
Human beings are social creatures.
We need to feel like we belong and to have companionship in order to thrive in life. Additionally, the strength of our relationships and connections deeply affects our mental health.
Being socially connected to others can ease stress, anxiety, and depression. Strong relationships can also help boost one's self-worth, provide comfort and joy, and prevent loneliness.
On the other hand, lacking strong social connections can pose a severe risk to your mental and emotional health. So we use social media in order to feel connected.
Social media is a technology with a lot of wonderful benefits. It allows people to share and connect, get news and information, and even meet new people. But there can be a downside too, especially for the young adults today who have grown up in a world of screens and social media.
Here are some of the many negative effects of excessive and unsupervised use of social media.
1. Social media may trigger feelings of inadequacy.
Seeing everyone's highlight reels on their newsfeed can cause them to feel inadequate, envious, and unsatisfied with their own life.
2. Social media can facilitate cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying can create unhealthy self-centeredness and distance from friends and family.
3. Social media can be addicting.
Social media apps and websites have the same kind of effect on the brain as playing a slot machine. When you see a notification on your screen, you are tempted to check it. Once you do, and that little red notification symbol goes away, your brain sees this as a "reward" or "accomplishment."
4. Fear of missing out.
FOMO is another reason scrolling through social media is so enticing. When your friends and classmates are using social media, you may worry about missing a message or an inside joke. So you keep up with your peers by staying glued to your screen.
That being said, social media is not evil. It is mainly a tool. And depending on how you decide to use it, social media and technology can also have a lot of positive effects.
1. Efficient means of connecting.
Despite its drawbacks, social media remains an efficient means of connecting communities and individuals across the world.
2. Educational and Informational.
Nowadays, people get their information through social media. There are a lot of credible sources and great educational content you can find on the internet.
3. A great way to connect with old and new friends.
Some of us have friends and family members who live miles away. Social media helps us stay connected with loved ones and meet new friends as well.
So, it's up to us to use social media responsibly in order for it to benefit us instead of causing more harm than good.
Here are a few ways to help manage its negative effects.
1. Turning off a smartphone’s data connectivity at certain times of the day.
2. Disconnecting while spending time with friends and family.
3. Turning off notifications or leaving your phone out of reach during bedtime.
4. Not scrolling your feeding first thing in the morning.
5. Turning off non-essential notifications.
Turning off notifications to make it easier to resist the distracting beeps or vibrations
limiting social media use to a computer rather than a smartphone
Instead of mindlessly scrolling on your phone, try adding these activities to your week.
1. Plan a small gathering
2. Take time to get out and exercise
3. Take a walk in nature
4. Find a place to volunteer
5. Spend some face-to-face time with a good friend
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