The negative impact of social media on mental health outweighs the positive. During the past years, social networking has led to some profound changes in how people interact and communicate. Yes, access to a vast network of information has made our lives easier but what about the dark hidden corners of social networking sites (SNS)?
According to a study published in the journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, SNSs such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram are related to symptoms and signs of depression.
Some of the activities on these sites are associated with depression and low self-esteem in adolescents and children.
The negative aspects of social media are as follows:
- Feeling Inadequate About Your Appearance and Life: Measuring yourself against the photoshopped and glamourized pictures online, can make one feel inadequate & lead to low self-esteem.
- Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): We all have experienced it at one time or the other. Fearing that you are stuck in life and not doing something as exciting or, as adventurous or, as romantic as the people you follow online, might lead to some really bad decisions.
- Feelings of Loneliness: Excessive use of social media is an addiction that can cause depression and anxiety. This will force you into isolation and affect your mental health
Since we can’t cut ourselves from the world, here’s how to modify your use of social media:
- Change Your Focus: Instead of scrolling online and looking at someone else’s vacation pictures or ‘date’ diaries, or food snaps, - connect with a friend or family, indulge in a hobby or self-care regime.
- Limit Your Time Online: Give yourself a time check. If you know you have a problem then allocate yourself just 30 minutes each day on any social media site. Confide in your partner/friend/family about your intentions to reduce your time online, so that they can keep you motivated when you falter.
- Social Media Detox: Do a social media detox from time to time. Have a get together with your offline friends, join a club, or take up a new activity. Just give yourself something exciting to look forward to.
- Reality check: The best way to do this is to count your blessings & try & live in the moment. Be thankful for the things you have and give your mind a ‘reality check’ that not everything you see online is real.
Remember, the only way to keep your mental health intact when it comes to social media is never believing everything you see. Learn to separate the fact from fiction. Things are over glamourised on social media. Not everything you see is true!