Here's how social media can harm your mental health

Here’s how social media can harm your mental health

I have seven social networking applications installed on my phone. Even though I don’t use all seven every day, I’ve still been on social networks for quite some time. And I know I’m not alone. As of April 2022, there are 4.65 billion people on social networks worldwide, with an average daily usage time of almost 2.5 hours.

There is a reason why these applications have their hooks in us. Social media is designed to be addictive. Using them releases dopamine and you feel good when you receive likes and post updates that others can respond to. However, the relationship between social media and mental health can go awry when your self-esteem and verification are tied to your online profiles.

How can social networks be harmful to your mental health?

Most people would agree that social networks can negatively affect mental health. I want to delve into why and how social media can affect how you see the world and yourself. In addition to the obvious negativity and bullying that can spread on the Internet.

The exploding popularity of everyday social media use is still quite new, so we don’t have research to look at the long-term effects of social media. However, numerous studies have linked it to many mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.

Worsening of anxiety and depression symptoms

Constant use of social networks can worsen the symptoms of anxiety and depression and increase feelings of isolation. Studies have found that excessive use of social media combined with high emotional dependence on platforms can lead to worsening of symptoms of anxiety and depression. A University of Pittsburgh survey found that people who use seven to 11 platforms are three times more likely to have depression or anxiety than people who do not use more than two platforms.

But the problem affects both sides. Researchers note that some people use social media to cope with feelings of anxiety or depression. It can become a vicious circle to browse social networks when you are bored or anxious without realizing that this behavior can make things worse.

Induce feelings of inadequacy

Social media emphasizes the interaction or likes and comments you get from your pictures and videos. It feels good when you post something and get a lot of interactions. It confirms why you even published it. But what happens if your pictures or videos don’t interact the way you want? When your self-esteem is linked to social media, you may feel low when you are not receiving what you expect to receive.

Comparing with others on social networks can lower your self-esteem. WITH filters that smooth the skin Or make a water selfie on the beach dark and seductively blue, it may seem impossible to get what others post on social media. In addition, unrealistic expectations about body appearance can lead to what experts call “body surveillance” or monitoring your body to the point that you begin to condemn it, especially among adolescents.

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Interrupt your sleep cycle

According to a 2018 study, 70% of people said they went to bed social networks before falling asleep and 15% spent an hour or more on their phones. This is common to most people; Checking feeding before falling asleep is part of your night routine.

What if I told you it shouldn’t be? The same study found that people who watch social networks in bed are more likely to suffer from insomnia. Using social networks in bed can delay your sleep and cause you to sleep less, and what you get is not quality sleep.

Another piece of the puzzle is blue light on your phone emits, which disrupts your circadian rhythm. However, another factor is that social media stimulates your body and mind. It’s best to put the phone aside if it does want to sleep better.

Warning signs that your online habits are unhealthy

Addiction to social networks can creep up on you, as well as negative effects. Keep these warning signs in mind to help you determine if you need to explore how social media affects your mental health.

  • You will not leave time for self-service.
  • You spend more time on social networks than with friends or family.
  • Your symptoms of depression or anxiety are increasing.
  • You often compare yourself with others and feel jealous of what they post.
  • You are scattered from school or work.
  • You have trouble falling asleep.
  • You feel like you have to check your social networks every few hours.

Ways to protect your mental health from social media

Social networks are not a bad thing. And you can use it in a healthy way that complements your life. These tips will help you strike a healthy balance between using social networks and mental health.

  • Shorten your time on social networks: According to a University of Pennsylvania study, limiting the use of social networks to 30 minutes can improve your well-being. If you think that social media negatively affects your mental health, think about how much you are connecting. Try the settings screen timeouts or schedule when you check social networks. You don’t have to go for a cold turkey. Be realistic about what you want from social media and what it takes to achieve that.
  • Don’t start or end your day on social media: It turns out that timing matters. Instead of starting or ending your day with a potentially negative tone, replace it with activities you enjoy. A 2018 study found that those who follow Facebook at night are more likely to feel unhappy or depressed.
  • Take advantage of that time for something else: Social media has its uses. But if you log in to go through outages, this can be problematic. Think about why you’re signing up. This will help you change the focus from social media to other activities – such as exercise or a new hobby.
  • Spend time with friends and family: Although social media platforms are a place to connect, it can also lead to feelings of loneliness when you no longer get what you expect from the community. Social media does not replace personal contact and quality time. Spending time with friends and family can help combat this.

Kornburut Woradee / EyeEm / Getty

Too long; did not read?

Social networks are not completely bad. Even after writing, I will still use it. It can be a tool to connect meaningfully and keep up with others. It can be a marketplace for self-expression and creativity. Social media can be a good thing.

Pay attention to how and why you use your platforms. Think about why you’re scrolling when you pick up the phone and shove the familiar instagram camera into it. Are you putting off things you could do – go for a walk or do your duties? Keeping in mind how much and for what reasons you use social media can help you stay healthy.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or medical advice. Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions regarding your medical condition or health goals.

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