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.