Mental Health

Why Social Media Isn’t the Best Thing for Our Mental Health

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Do you know anyone who isn’t on social media? Can you count them on your hand? Chances are, you won’t get past a few fingers.

In this day in age, nearly everyone uses social media. There were 3.6 billion social media users in 2020, with 3.78 billion expected users in 2021. That’s almost half our world population.

It comes as no surprise – there are quite a few social media platforms out there. No matter which one we use, they all affect our mental health. Especially with the pandemic, people are more glued to their phones than ever. The result? A major dependence on social media.

We can’t blame anyone. Stay-at-home orders gave people really no other choice.

What we really need to be talking about is social media’s effect on our mental health. These platforms have altered social engagement forever. While there are benefits to reap from social media, the negative effects are quite staggering.

It’s important to understand how social media could be affecting your mental health. Struggling with anxiety and/or depression is real. Some of your social media habits could be triggering your symptoms.

 

5 Reasons Why Social Media Isn’t the Best Thing for Our Mental Health

It messes with our Self-esteem

Why Social Media Isn't the Best Thing for Our Mental Health

When we scroll on social media, we are overwhelmed with content. This is especially true for visually-driven social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube. 

Social media brings a sense of escape. This kind of distraction doesn’t always make us feel so great.

Seeing other people’s lifestyles, adventures, and ‘successes’ can induce feelings of falling behind or not being good enough. This can trigger anxious thoughts about our own progress. It can even make us doubt our own journeys.

If this sounds familiar, there are a couple of tips to combatting this experience. First, try to find more positive distractions. Go for a walk, bake a cake, or do anything that brings you (and only you!) peace.

Another suggestion is to carefully curate your social media feed. Unfollow accounts that may be triggering low self-esteem. This could even be friends or relatives. It may be hard to do, but, remember, your mental health matters the most.

 

Affects Our Sleep

Did you know: our social media consumption is directly linked to our sleep quality?

Yup – our screen time actually keeps us awake. It makes us hyper and anxious, leading to less and more poor quality of sleep.

This is especially true if you find yourself scrolling right before hitting the hay. Introducing new content to your brain at night stimulates your thoughts. This heightens anxiety and tension. And, as we all know, anxiety is not a friend of sleep.

Decreases Our Attention Span

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One extraordinary thing about social media is access. One single app can give you entertainment for hours.

We basically live in a society where boredom doesn’t exist. With our smartphones, we literally can access this entertainment any time of the day. Unfortunately, this inability to be bored does a number on our attention spans.

Requiring constant engagement shortens our attention spans. This affects our real-life relationships. It makes us impatient. Most importantly, it makes us less present with those actually around us.

Some may think – well, who wants to be bored anyways? Our people and relationship skills are very valuable. When our relationships suffer, our mental health suffers. Giving yourself distance from social media can help you appreciate your relationships a little more.

 

Triggers Control Issues

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Social media makes us hyperaware of people’s behavior. It makes us want to know what people are up to at all times.

This is especially true for those we want to get in touch with. For example, if a friend doesn’t text us back, but posts something on social, it triggers a strong emotional response in us. We start to feel confused, neglected, and often angry. This behavioral cycle continues, making us more and more attached to social media. 

This cycle also aggravates our anxieties. In order to control them, we continue to use social media to give us answers. So we lurk profiles, stories, and whatever we can do find answers to our anxious thoughts.

Don’t be ashamed if this sounds like you. If you use social media, chances are you’ve been in this position before. Social media is insanely anxiety-inducing.

 

Brews Too Much FOMO

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Social media is the FOMO wonderland. That’s because people can post any content, no matter if it’s current, old, or not even theirs.

This is especially tricky with things like Instagram/Facebook stories or Tiktoks. We can upload experiences that happened months or years ago. Unless we make a caption, our followers mostly won’t even know.

The lack of genuine content messes with our minds. We can see our friends posting photos or videos together. Suddenly, we wonder – why weren’t we invited? 

FOMO, a once playful term, isn’t harmless as it seems – it can make us feel sad and frustrated for days. This can lead to anxious or depressive thoughts that distract us in our everyday lives.

 

Decreasing our social media use is not a simple task in this world, we know. However, finding a healthy relationship with social media is key to maintaining your mental health.

We hope that this post helps you find clarity in your own mental health journey. Remember: you are a unique and awesome individual who deserves all the support you need!

If you or anyone you know is majorly struggling with their mental health, please contact the SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

Related: Recovery Quotes To Help You Find Strength & Peace

 

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