Social media is all around us these days. You cannot seem to escape to various social media forms from Instagram, Facebook, and twitter, to YouTube and snapchat. We are constantly surround by social media and everything that comes with it from opinions and judgements to comparisons. So, today I’m asking you to question, is social media worsening your mental health? And if so, what you can do to fix it.
According to Social Media Today, the average person will spend 2 hours a day on social media which is equal to 5 years and 4 months in their lifetime. That is INSANE! And what’s even crazier, is that number is expected to increase as platforms expand and develop. Spending this much time on a social media platform is not what we were designed for. We are meant to be connecting and interacting with others, yes, but not only through our devices and not for THAT much time. Not only can this much social media screen time be bad for your physical health, but it can also be worsening your mental health.
So, let’s start by exploring some reasons why social media could be worsening your mental health.
Theodore Roosevelt once said “comparison is the thief of joy” and he got it exactly right. On social media people are constantly posting their highlights and people fall in to the habit of comparing their life to other people’s highlight reels which can be bad for your mental health and cause you to feel down about yourself or your situation.
HOW YOU CAN FIX IT: Spending less time on social media can help you decrease that practice of comparison or even better, practice mindful scrolling and simply acknowledge a post without adding yourself into the equation and comparing.
At times social media can be flooded with news stories and negative highlights of what is happening in the world. The reason for this is negative and shocking stories normally get more ratings so of course you will see them reposted all over social media. Being constantly bombared with negative news stories will wear on your mental health and can make you adopt a more negative outlook on the world and your day to day life. I said it before in posts HERE, and I’ll say it again Negative perpetuates negativity and positivity perpetuates positivity.
HOW YOU CAN FIX IT: Limit the amount of negative new stories you read on social media. Stick to the facts of the news and try not to dwell on added negative highlights. Try reading more positive new articles that highlight all the amazing things happening in the world. There are always good things out there!
3. Inauthentic Relationships
Social media can be a great place for meeting new people or connecting with old friends, but sometimes you get flooded with what I like to call the “inauthentic relationship”. These are your classic follow/unfollowers on social media. You know, the ones who are only looking to use you to increase their following and to get you to buy stuff from them. They normally do not care if they are helping to improve your life or benefiting your life in a positive way. They just want your money and your following so that they can contact brands to get more money.
HOW YOU CAN FIX IT: Do not fall into the follow/unfollow rabbit hole. Once you start this behavior your account will be flooded with inauthentic people just looking to use you to grow. Instead truly look at someone’s content and determine “does this improve my life, health, outlook, etc”. If it does then great follow them, but if its only goal is to use you and not bring any positive attributes to your life, then walk away.
4. Negative Body Image
Social media is flooded with “fitness models” and “Instagram models” posting their bodies and ideas like “if you do this or eat this then you could look like me too”. ERRR, wrong. Many of these social media accounts are over edited photos to make regular people buy their products or follow their account. This causes people to compare their own bodies to other people’s which can create a negative self-image and can even cause serious conditions like Body Dysphoric Disorder.
HOW YOU CAN FIX IT: Do not follow superficial accounts that make you feel bad about your body or self. Instead focus on accounts that are all about universal wellness and helping you improve your self-image.
5. Disrupted Sleep Patterns
Social media can be addicting and you can get hypnotized into the never ending scrolling habit. Many people scrolls through social media accounts before bed or when sitting in bed which can actually disrupt your sleep cycles. The reason e sleep at night is that melatonin is released from our brain when it gets dark outside signaling for us to get sleepy and go to bed. However, with keeping a constant light source in your eyes at nighttime can disrupt this and cause delayed sleep or restless sleep.
HOW YOU CAN FIX IT: Keep the phone out of your eyes at night. NO phone times for 2 hours before bed to help facilitate restful sleep.
That’s right you can become addicted to social media. The constant “Fear of missing out” keeps people constantly checking in on their accounts. This behavior can become an addiction and can be a hard habit to break.
HOW YOU CAN FIX IT: Take social media detoxes/holidays. Take frequent breaks from social media when you notice the habit increasing to bring you back to reality and your keep your unhealthy behaviors in check. If you can limit you social media to 1 or 2 platforms or if you are super bold, go completely “off the grid” with no social media accounts.
7. Increased Depression and Anxiety
Constantly viewing unrealistic expectations or altered images can be harmful to one’s mental health. Social media is filled with opinions and perspectives and sometimes this can influence your own perception of your world and have a negative impact on your mental health. Anxiety can be caused from the “Fear of missing out” and depression can be caused by unrealistic expectations and comparisons.
HOW YOU CAN FIX IT: Spend less time on social media. If you believe you are suffering from depression or anxiety seek treatment from a professional that can help you.
With social media being such a huge influence in your life today, it’s important that you make it a health influence and one that will improve your life. Remember everything is good in moderation. Too much social media can be harmful to your mental health so let’s do a quick recap of why. Social media can cause many people to compare their lives to others and can cause negative self-image, depression and anxiety. Social media can be polluted with negativity which can cause people to develop negative perspectives. Plus, social media can facilitate inauthentic relationships, disrupt your sleeping patterns, and lead to addiction of social media.
If you feel like social media is having any of these negative impacts on you then make sure to try some of these suggestions to see if you can improve you mental health. Or even better, try a social media detox and see how your mental health improves. But most importantly if they feel like you need help always seek the treatment from a profession who can help you.
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading!