Social Media and Mental Health

social media and mental health


Evaluating the Impact of Social Media Usage on Our Mental Health

In recent years, social media has become an integral part of our day to day lives. It’s hard to imagine a world without it. We use it to stay connected with friends and family, to get our news, and to entertain ourselves.  It’s no secret that social media has a profound impact on the way we interact with others, learn new ideas, share information, sell products, stay up-to-date on current events, and communicate. Though there are many pros to social media – such as the ability to stay connected with friends and family all over the world – there are also cons, such as the negative impacts it can have on our mental health.

Social Media-Is it Positive or Negative?

According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, social media can have both positive and negative effects on our mental health. The study found that people who use social media excessively are more likely to experience negative effects, such as feelings of loneliness and depression. 

A study by the University of Pittsburgh also found a correlation between the usage of multiple social media platforms and a higher likelihood of reporting symptoms of depression. Another study, by the University of Essex, found that people who use social media more than once a day are more likely to feel socially isolated.  Some research also suggests that frequent use of social media can also lead to low self-esteem and body image issues as we are more likely to compare our lives to what is portrayed by others in images and videos.

Be Mindful of Time Spent on Social Media

So what does this mean for us?  It means that we need to be mindful of how much time we’re spending on social media and be aware of the potential negative effects it can have on our mental health.  As stated above, studies have shown that social media can cause anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues in people who use it excessively.  The more time people spend on social media, the more likely they are to experience these negative effects. Additionally, people who are already struggling with mental health issues may find that social media makes their condition worse.

Should You Take a Break from Social Media?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by social media and would like to take a break, here are a few tips for getting started.

  1. Identify your main reasons for wanting to get off of social media.

Before you make any decisions about your social media use, it’s important to determine why you want to take a break.  Are you feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information you’re taking in? Do you feel like social media is making you feel bad about yourself? Are you using social media to avoid real-world problems?  Are you spending more time on social media than you’d like? Are you seeing negative effects on your mental health?

Write down your reasons for wanting to get off of social media, and refer back to them when you feel tempted to log back in. 

  1. Make a Plan

Decide how long you want to stay off of social media, and what you’ll do instead. Will you spend more time reading or going outside? Will you focus on other aspects of your life that have been neglected? Having a plan will help make the process easier.

  1. Delete the Apps from Your Devices 

If the temptation to use social media is too great, delete the apps from your phone, laptop, tablet or computer.

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