Social Media and Your Mental Health
Social media is a bit of a double-edged sword. For some people, it’s a great resource that allows them to stay connected to loved ones while also breaking up the tedium of a day. Others find social media stressful and even claim that it’s causing mental health problems.
The positive side of social media is:
- It’s something you can do on your own schedule which increases the odds of actually connecting with people you care about but who live too far away or have too different a lifestyle to make traditional connections possible
- It can make you feel less alone in the world
- Social media allows you to connect with people who share your passions and interests, no matter how obscure your tastes might be
- You can make great friends through social media connections
- Social media can sometimes push you to take on new challenges
Not everyone has a positive experience when it comes to social media. Many of the downsides people have encountered while using social media include:
- Feeling insecure because friends are always sharing their triumphs (but rarely post about the struggles they had before finally succeeding)
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Finding that they are becoming increasingly combative when they encounter someone who has a different opinion
- Getting bullied
- Losing track of time because they were on social media
- Discovering that social media is consuming their life
Most experts agree that it doesn’t matter if your experiences with social media are good or bad, it’s in your best interest to set limits and not spend all of your free time on various social media platforms. Make sure you put down your phone or step away from your computer. Messages, posts, and comments will all be there when you log back in.
Taking time away from social media channels gives you a chance to remember that there is a great deal more to life than staying in touch with people via social media. Use this time to enjoy some face-to-face time with your loved ones. Get outside and breathe in some fresh air. Read a book or simply spend an hour vegged out in front of the television. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel after spending some time away from the constant drama of social media.
If you are the type of person who loses track of time when you are online, set an alarm and log off your social media accounts each time it goes off. If you can’t simply ignore the allure of social media, remove the apps from your phone so that you can only log into your accounts when you’re on your computer or tablet.
In addition to limiting the amount of time, you’re on social media during the day, schedule a few days a month where you don’t go near your social media accounts. You can use these social media free periods to access your mental and emotional health and really decide if social media is making your life better or slowly harming your mental health.