Humans beings are social creatures who need the companionship of others to thrive in life. The strength of our connections with friends, family, and colleagues has a significant impact on mental health and happiness. Many people prefer staying socially active as it eases stress, anxiety, depression, and boosts self-worth, adding joy to their life. But, do you think social connections are the same in 2020?
In today’s era, everyone relies on social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat to connect with others. It does promote accessibility, but it can never be a replacement for real-world human connection. Although social forums exist to bring people closer, spending a lot of time on them can cause loneliness, resulting in depression and anxiety.
Most people put forward an artificial image on social media, pretending to be someone they are not. If you start scrolling, your feed would be full of fantastic fashion, clear skin, and a perfect body. The barrage of perfectly filtered photos on Instagram can knock anyone’s self-esteem. It makes you believe life is complete instead of acknowledging that people only share happy moments.
Let us help you understand how social media affects your mental well-being.
Negative Aspects of Social Media
With booming reliance on social media, people are moving away from things that truly matter. Several studies have found a close link between social media and mental health, increasing the risk of depression and self-harm. Look below to see how it plays with your thoughts and emotions.
- Cyber Bullying
Usually, online communities tend to overlook the power of words as they are capable of hurting people more than anything else. You might have come across individuals leaving harsh comments or saying hurtful things to each other. This freedom of speech is resulting in cyberbullying, hurting the mental well-being of people. Social media is a platform that brings the global audience together, meaning bullying happens because of gender, race, ethnicity color.
Many people become victims of body shaming online. Teenagers encounter offensive comments and remarks, whereas Twitter has become the hotspot for spreading hurtful rumors. Believe it or not, cyberbullying can leave everlasting emotional scars, wrecking up mental health.
- Triggers Sadness
Everyone has a need to be liked and accepted by others. Don’t you care a lot about what others have to say? In the digital world, “likes” work like social media currency, and not getting more “likes” than friends make people think they are not good enough. Similarly, seeing people going to parties and having fun can make you feel sad about your life. It develops unusual expectations from life, and when people cannot accomplish them, they drown themselves into depression.
- Unhealthy Sleep Patterns
Are you having trouble falling asleep? Unsurprisingly, spending too much time on social media can lead to poor sleep patterns while affecting your sleep quality. It is easy to tell yourself that you would spend five more minutes scrolling through Facebook, but hours pass by until you realize. Mobile phones emit blue light as these wavelengths help to keep people productive. Thus, during bedtime, the exposure to this light keeps us awake, leading to mood swings and irritation. Likewise, social media provides endless stimulation, encouraging your body to remain active and engaged.
- Promotes Self-Consciousness
We all have a fair share of insecurities, some of us can speak openly, but others prefer keeping it to themselves. Social media exposes you to aesthetically appealing pictures of couples, tropical beaches, holidays, and delicious food, leaving you in self-doubt. Don’t you ever wonder why your life is not as exciting? Even though these images are fake, they can still make you feel insecure and jealous. With all celebrities uploading pictures, it creates a self-image of how one should look, inclining you to fit yourself under what other people see as perfect.
- It is Addictive!
Isn’t it hard to leave your phone away and get back to work? Undoubtfully, social media is addictive – physically and mentally. Self-disclosure on networking sites triggers the part of the brain that also ignites when consuming something addictive. It works on the principle of rewards and positive reinforcement as social media provides immediate rewards in the form of attention from others. It inclines you to keep checking likes, comments, and shares on your post. There is an uncontrollable urge to log in to social forums, resulting in anxiety.
Tips Modify Social Media Usage for Mental Well-Being
Technology can do wonders if you use it correctly, and the same goes for social media. Here is how social media can help you regain your mental health while improving your life quality.
- Reduce your online surfing time to 30 minutes a day.
- Don’t bring your phone to bed.
- Disable social media notifications.
- Spend more time with offline friends.
- Change your focus – if you use social media only for scrolling, find a purpose. It could be finding jobs or shopping online.
Limiting usage can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The undeniable link between social media and mental health is alarming for people. Even though these platforms have their benefits, but using them excessively can make people feel unhappy and isolated. It generates adverse emotional reactions due to the social pressure of being perfect. Therefore, it is high time people take a break and go on a social media cleanse to improve their mental well-being.