Did you know your social media habit could be adding to your mental health worries?
Although experts aren’t quite sure whether or not social media causes mental health issues, they do know there’s definitely a link between them. Numerous studies have shown that those who use social media do report feeling more anxious, depressed, and stressed.
A simple google search will bring up hundreds of scholarly articles and studies. Even more disturbing is the amount of studies with a focus on the mental health of children and adolescents and social media. As parents we should A) be making sure we are giving our children the best possible environment to grow and thrive in and B) make sure we are modeling appropriate behaviors.
One of the best things I’ve read lately is a book called Glow Kids which details how digital media, including social media is affecting our kids. It’s life-changing.
If we even think that social media can affect our health AND the health of our children then it’s about time we took a hard look at where we are spending our time, and where we are letting our kids send there’s. IF there is a link between social media and mental health why in the world are we continuing to ignore the evidence?
So, how does social media impact our mental health anyways?
Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know about the effects social media could be having on your emotions.
Social Media Usage can Reduce Self-Esteem
Everyone has insecurities and social media seems to do wonders at preying on them. If you find you often compare yourself, especially aesthetically, to the people you follow, it’s going to have a detrimental effect on your self-esteem.
Comparing ourselves to others never leads to a positive outcome. By seeing how well others are doing and then basing our own self-worth on how we compare, it really batters our self-esteem.
Even if comparing yourself to others is something you don’t normally do, social media creates an atmosphere where everyone goes to show off the best version of themselves. The versions you see of people online might be slightly inflated or they could be all around untrue.
The problem is, we don’t know how much of what we are seeing is real and how much is embellished.
Take the selfie for example. I know if I take a photo of myself with the camera held below my chin I will look like I weigh a solid 200lbs. Move the camera above my head and I suddenly look like I weigh maybe 100lbs. Neither of these is accurate, I’m really somewhere in the middle of these two numbers. However, if I do choose to post one of these we all know it will be the later, which is not what I look like in real life. Do you know that though? Probably not.
The fact it’s easy to compare our lives in a negative way to others on social media is another reason it can trigger anxiety and depression. You’re constantly left in a state of envy, feeling bad about yourself because you just can’t compare. It’s a vicious cycle which really can leave you feeling miserable.
Social Media Contributes Toward Mental Health Issues Like Anxiety and Depression
Those who use social media frequently have shown to have increased levels of depression and anxiety compared to those who don’t. There’s a number of reasons why this could be.
Although you’re technically interacting with friends and family, social media can leave you feeling isolated. It’s just not the same as real interaction. So, if most of your human interaction happens via social media, it’s going to leave you feeling depressed.
The more time you spend online the less time you are spending in the real world in physical company with other people which makes you feel worse and leads to more time spent online trying to connect. It’s a never-ending cycle of destruction.
Social Media Can Create a Feeling of Being Disconnected From the World
We already touched briefly on the fact that using social media to interact with others can lead to depression. However, it can also have a much deeper impact on your wellbeing.
When all you do is interact digitally, it can leave you feeling totally disconnected from the real world. Your social skills could start dwindling, you’ll feel lonely and isolated. Humans need human interaction. Without it, our lives can feel a lot lonelier.
Humans are social creatures and we need connection with others. The truth is, the digital connection will never be able to complete with real-life, face to face connection.
These are just some of the ways social media impacts our mental health. While it can definitely prove useful when used sparingly, too much social media use is guaranteed to start having negative effects on the mind.
So, if you’re a self-confessed social media junkie, now’s definitely the time to consider quitting your addiction.
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