Social Media and Mental Health: What's the Connection?7 months, 2 weeks ago
Posted on Aug 08, 2022, 4 p.m.
As social media use increases, there's a growing concern about its effects on mental health. Social media users spend at least two hours a day worldwide on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For some, social media is a positive experience. It connects them with friends and families where they share exciting moments and stay up-to-date on current events
However, for others, social media has adverse effects. Studies have linked social media use to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. If you're concerned about how social media impacts your mental health, there are a few things you can do to limit its effects.
Limit Your Interactions to Positive Experiences
One way to reduce the adverse effects of social media is to limit your interactions to positive experiences. Interact with people and content that make you feel good. Follow friends and family members who always have positive things to say.
You can post your photos and updates to only private groups or limit who can see them. There are many apps that you can use to create authentic but positive images of yourself to share with others. You'll freely express your style without worrying about how other people will react.
Take Breaks from Social Media
Take breaks if social media impacts your mood or mental health. Log off for a day, a week, or even longer. During the break, find other activities to do that make you happy. Spend time with family and friends, read your favorite book, or go outside and enjoy nature.
When you're a victim of cyberbullying, take a break and report the behavior to the site administrators. Understand that you don't have to tolerate this behavior from anyone.
Be Mindful of the Time You Spend on Social Media
If you find yourself endlessly scrolling through your feed, limit the amount of time you spend on social media each day. Some apps can help you track screen time and set limits. When aware of your time on social media, you can consciously reduce it.
It also helps to plan your day's activities. Accountability and productivity apps can help with this. Once you have a plan for your day, it'll be easier to stick to it and limit time spent on social media.
Don't Let Other Social Media Users Affect Your Mood
Just because someone posts something negative doesn't mean you have to let it affect your mood. Take a step back if you are getting worked up over someone's post. Realize that this person is entitled to their opinion. It doesn't have to ruin your day.
It's also easy to feel discouraged when others post incredible experiences on social media. It might seem like you're making little progress while others are winning at life. Remember that people only share the highlights of their lives on social media. Everyone has struggles, even if they don't post about them online.
However, it's not all doom and gloom. When used correctly, social media can significantly improve life. You'll create and maintain relationships, get news and updates, and share your experiences. Other benefits include:
Improved Self Esteem
Continued positive use of social media can significantly improve your self-esteem. The key is to focus on the positive interactions you have. These could be with friends, family, or even strangers. Receiving compliments and support from others helps you feel good about yourself.
A Broadened Sense of Community
Social media makes you feel connected to a community, whether a group of friends, co-workers, or people with similar interests. When you interact with others online, you share your thoughts and experiences. These interactions make you feel like you belong to something bigger. As a result, you're less lonely, even if you don't have many friends in real life.
A Boost in Mood
In general, social media use is linked to a boost in mood. When you interact with others, and they respond positively, it improves your outlook on life. Additionally, looking at happy posts from friends or family reminds you of the good in your life. It offsets negative emotions caused by challenging experiences.
A Way to Connect With Loved Ones
If you live far away from family or friends, social media provides an easy way to connect with them. You’ll stay up-to-date on their lives and feel close to them. You can participate in family events, like a baby shower or graduation, video call, and share experiences anywhere in the world.
A Source of News and Information
Social media can also be a great way to get your news and information. You can follow news organizations, journalists, or influencers in your industry. This way, you're always in the know. Just be wary of what you are reading, as not everything that you read on the internet is true, there is a lot of misinformation out there. If you are looking for news, stick to reputable sources, not other people’s opinions.
Improved Communication Skills
Because social media promotes constant communication, it sharpens your communication skills. You learn how to express your thoughts and feelings clearly. You also know how to respond to others respectfully and helpfully. You can apply these skills in both your personal and professional life.
Focus on The Positive Aspects Of Social Media
Social media provides a creative outlet for you to express yourself. You’ll connect with others, learn new things, and stay up-to-date on current events. However, limit your social media use. Otherwise, it can negatively impact your mental health. Take breaks, set limits, and focus on the positive aspects of social media to stay mentally healthy.
This article was written for WHN by Ashley Lipman, blogger and health advocate.
Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors is of their opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine.
Content may be edited for style and length.
Materials provided by: