Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are forced to stay at home. This has led to more time being spent on social media. Many stay connected with friends and family through these internet-based social platforms. They enable you to stay updated with what’s happening in the community and the world. Social media networks also help many people kill time either by checking out updates from those in their friends and connections list. These sites and apps have also become sources of information and new knowledge.
Indeed, there are many advantages to utilizing social media networks. After all, they were originally developed and designed to bring good to the world. However, too much of anything is bad. There are instances when social media can also harm people’s mental and emotional well-being.
For instance, while browsing through your news feed, have you ever felt bad or uncomfortable at one point? Did you ever feel as if you’re missing out on something? Do you sometimes find yourself stressed by the bad news and conflicting opinions you stumble upon?
Social media is already deeply ingrained in our life and society. It’s even difficult to imagine the world without it. Quite frankly, it’s likely here to stay. However, it’s important to get your social media usage in check, especially when it’s already affecting your mental health.
Here are some of the things you should know about social media and mental health.
- The positive effects of social media.
Social media has a number of positive aspects, including the following:
- It lets you communicate with family and friends all over the world.
- It allows you to find new friends and widen your network, letting you get in touch with people who share the same interests as yours.
- It gives an avenue for promoting business and causes.
- It provides you a way to seek emotional support at times of difficulty.
- It gives you a way to express yourself and share your knowledge with others.
- It paves the way for new learning.
If you focus on these positive effects of social media and use it exclusively to achieve these benefits, then you can fully maximize it to your advantage.
- The negative effects of social media.
Everything has pros and cons. Social media, despite the advantages, offers a number of negative effects. Some of these are the following:
- It can make you feel inadequate. More often than not, people in social media only post the good aspects of their lives. They only post about the rainbows and butterflies, not the storm. Because of this, those who are at a low point in their lives tend to feel as if their achievements are inadequate. It is not uncommon for jealousy to build up. This can lead to stress and depression.
- It might push you to pretend to fit in. When people feel inadequate, they might resort to putting on a mask and also post only the good things about their life in order to fit in and feel adequate somehow. In time, this can also lead to the development of stress.
- It can make you feel even more lonely. Social media helps you stay connected with others. However, it can also amplify the fact that you are not with the people you love.
- It makes you at risk for cyberbullying. Social media is generally free for all. This is why social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have become a hotspot for cyberbullying. While safety and reporting measures are in place, cyberbullies still abound.
- Signs That Social Media is Affecting Your Mental Health
There are several signs that can tell social media could be taking a toll on your mental health. Determining whether it’s already affecting you negatively is the first step to taking action. Watch out for these signs:
- You spend more time on social media than with your family and friends face-to-face even when you have the chance.
- You compare yourself and your achievements with others.
- You get cyber-bullied at one point or another. Alternatively, if you have bullied someone online, whether internationally or not.
- You are constantly distracted from important tasks such as at work or school.
- You do risky and dangerous things just to get likes and attention.
- You don’t get enough sleep.
- Your anxiety or depression worsens.
- Things to Do and/or Avoid to Keep Social Media From Destroying Your Life
There are ways to stop social media from ruining your mental health and keeping you from maintaining healthy relationships. Here are some tips:
- Reduce your time on social media. Try using an app time tracker to make sure that you don’t overuse social media.
- Distract yourself. Instead of spending your spare time solely on social media, do other things. Get a new hobby or do something productive, such as reading a book or taking a free online class.
- Go for traditional ways to connect. Pick up the phone to call family and friends. You can also send emails instead of chats.
- Practice mindfulness and gratitude. When you feel inadequate and you start comparing yourself with others, take a break from social media to relax and meditate. Focus on what you have and be grateful for them.
Social media was invented to help improve our lives. Do not let it do otherwise. By gaining self-control and focusing on what really matters, you can take care of your mental and emotional health.