Navigating Social Media and Mental Health

We’ve all been there: five minutes of scrolling through social media turns into an hour. It’s difficult to keep in touch, be part of community, and plan events without the use of social media but using it too often can significantly impact our mood and our mental health. So how do we find a balance?  

How Social Media Can Impact Your Mental Health 

While social media platforms offer many benefits, like connecting with loved ones, accessing information, and fostering a sense of community, they also pose significant challenges to mental well-being. Here are some of the ways in which social media can impact our mental health:

  • Comparison and Envy: One of the most common negative effects of social media is the tendency to compare our lives to the curated, highlight-reel versions of others’ lives. This constant comparison can lead to feelings of inadequacy, envy, and low self-esteem. Remember that when we see posts and videos from others, they’re often highly curated and edited – they don’t often reflect reality. 
  • Cyberbullying: The anonymity provided by social media can sometimes encourage cyberbullying, which can have severe emotional and psychological consequences, especially for young people. No one has the right to harass or intimidate you, even online. If they do, block and report them. 
  • Obsession: The constant notifications, likes, and comments can be addictive, leading to excessive screen time and neglect of real-life interactions and responsibilities. Make sure you’re seeing people in person and use social media and other technology to fill in gaps and keep in contact with those who might be far away. 
  • FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): Social media often portrays an idealized version of life, making it easy to feel like you’re missing out on experiences and opportunities, contributing to anxiety and depression. 
  • Negative Self-Talk: Reading hurtful comments or comparing oneself to others online can exacerbate negative self-talk. Make sure you’re following accounts that make you feel good and unfollowing those that don’t. 

Tips and Tricks to Make Social Media Work For You 

Yes, social media can be hard to navigate and we often hear a lot of negative news about social platforms. However, social media offers us the opportunity to learn what is happening around the world, meet new people, and keep in contact with those who might otherwise fade from our busy lives. Here’s a few ideas to keep your social media usage in check:  

  • Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries for your social media use. Decide on a daily or weekly time limit and stick to it. Avoid using social media during meal times or right before bed. Having a hard time sticking to this? Set a timer on your phone and stick to it. 
  • Curate Your Feed: Unfollow or mute accounts that consistently make you feel negative emotions or promote unrealistic ideals. Instead, follow accounts that inspire, educate, or entertain you in a positive way. 
  • Take Breaks: Regularly take digital detox breaks. Disconnect from social media for a few hours or even days to recharge and focus on real-life experiences. Make a list of things you can do, activities you’ve always wanted to try, and adventures you can go on to have a ready-made, personalized list at your fingertips when you need a break from your phone. 
  • Practice Self-Awareness: Pay attention to how social media makes you feel. If you notice it’s negatively affecting your mental health, take a step back and evaluate your usage. 
  • Engage Mindfully: Before posting or commenting, consider the potential impact of your words. Be mindful of the content you consume and share, and think about how it aligns with your values. 
  • Seek Support: If you’re struggling with mental health issues exacerbated by social media, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or mental health professionals for support and guidance. Here at C-WHO we offer behavioral health consultations for anyone who is looking to improve their mental health. They’re confidential, are less than 30 minutes, and designed to help you get on the right track.  

Social media is not our enemy but we need to make sure it’s working for us instead of us mindlessly consuming and scrolling. Need some help getting there, we’d love to help. 

  • mental health
  • behavioral health
  • social media
  • facebook
  • instagram
  • snapchat
  • pinterest
  • twitter
  • tiktok
Linda CardwellNavigating Social Media and Mental Health
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