Social media is an incredibly powerful tool that has been incorporated into our daily lives, there’s no doubt that it can affect our mental health. Social media allows us to keep in contact with people who don’t get to see on a daily, weekly, or even yearly basis, but unfortunately, it can also act as a catalyst to mental health disorders if what you’re seeing on the screen makes you feel bad about your own life.
A recent survey taken in the UK polled 1500 Facebook and Twitter users and the results showed that over half of the participants had feelings of inadequacy and 60 percent reported feelings of jealousy because their followers and friends had more exciting lives by comparison to their own.
For those of us who spend a large amount of time on social media every day, it can be difficult to disconnect from it. In fact, studies show that social media may actually be addictive. It allows us to break away from our lives and have a distraction, but it can also give us unrealistic expectations, cultivate our insecurities, and point out things that we don’t have in our lives. What experts do agree on is that those who are overly dependent on social media and technology for social interaction are more likely to exhibit feelings of anxiety. When we see our friends and all the places they’re visiting and the life events they’re experiencing, it can cause us to look at our own lives and feel inadequate with what we’ve experienced and the things we haven’t been able to do.
Because many people who regularly use social media are addicted to it, they will regularly check their feed to see what their followers are posting. Unfortunately, when we’re addicted to social media, scrolling through our feeds only makes us feel less in control afterward.
If you’re struggling with an addiction to social media and feel like you’re mental health is suffering, as a result, begin making a change by making a conscious effort to limit your time on social media each day. If you’re finding that difficult, remove the apps from your phone so that to sign into your accounts, you need to go to a web browser. This will also keep you from seeing the notifications every time one of your followers’ tweets or shares a post.
It’s also a good idea to make an effort to see your friends and family in the real world. Too often we rely on interacting with our loved ones through social media, which can be a great tool but shouldn’t be used as a replacement for actual interaction. Whenever you are with them, be present. Put away your cell phone when you’re out with them and give them your attention.