How to Manage Your Mental Health & Social Media
October 14, 2021
For many of us, social media has become an inseparable part of our daily lives. We are constantly checking our personal social accounts and even if we don't, our work may require us to. Although there are some perks of having a social media account, it is also good to be aware of its significant impact on our overall mental & physical health. Read on to learn more on what to be aware of & how to balance your use of social media.
Pros & Cons of Social Media
As we would all agree, one of the biggest contributions social media has made to our society is that it is a convenient & fast way to keep in touch with our friends & family. It can add to our happiness & wellbeing. In addition, social media can be a great source of inspiration & ideas on topics that you are interested in. It can also be a great platform for businesses to share their products or for news outlets to spread awareness regarding a particular topic.
On the other hand, there are several downsides to social media. There have been a number of cyber bullying cases in which children & adults are both affected. Also, information on those social platforms may not all be accurate, which can cause tremendous stress. Aside from the negative effects social media can have on society, it can also have a more personal impact on our mental health.
Mental Health & Social Media
What are the mental health concerns that stem from the use of social media? Aside from the cyber-bullying mentioned above, the use of social media can cause us to become addicted - meaning your brain becomes so wired into using this function that you might start to feel odd when you're not using social media. Of course, anything that ends up becoming an addiction is likely not healthy & shows a lack of balance.
In addition, many studies have shown that those who have increased their usage of social media seemed to have increased feelings of sadness, loneliness, & jealousy. Definitely not what you intended on looking for when you first opened your social media apps. Now, it doesn't mean that you need to completely zap out your usage of social media, but there are some tips you can keep in mind while using this tool.
How to Stay Balanced
Here are some steps you can take to stay mentally healthy while using social media:
First figure out what your purpose is in using social media. For example, if your purpose in using social media is just to keep in touch with family & friends, then enjoy it for that. However, if you begin to notice that you're using it for other purposes, put a stop to it. In other words, if you find yourself trapped on social media for hours looking at animal videos or getting lost checking out what other celebrities are up to lately - try to kindly remind yourself of your main purpose of using social media and exit the platform.
2. Curate Your Feed
If your original purpose is to keep in touch with friends & family, but find that your feed is now filled with too much other static, then perhaps you've followed way too many other distractions. Remember, you aren't obligated to follow every person that asks you to or every person that follows you. If you do, you might find yourself with a feed full of posts that have nothing to do with your friends & family. Clearing out your feed can help you filter out the noise & regain your focus of why you used this social platform in the first place.
You don't need to follow every person you know. Just because you know someone, doesn't mean you're friends with them or you really know them. If you don't like what you're seeing in your feed, then unfollow. If you find yourself enraged at what some of your "friends" are posting then unfollow. If what certain people you once liked are now posting images that you find offensive then don't hesitate to unfollow. Don't feel bad.
If we bombard our minds with posts that negatively affects us, it can have seriously effect on our mental health. Of course, that's not to say you should unfollow whoever you disagree with, but if you notice posts that spread hate, negativity, false information, or just simply make you feel sick, unfollow. You don't need that kind of bad association or negativity in your life. Don't worry about coming off as mean, because in most cases, they'll never know you unfollowed them.
4. Don't Compare
One area that social media negatively impacts us the most is when we start comparing. No one likes to post their worst photo or talk about their lowest moments in life. That's why most of the posts you see highlight only people's best moments. It can be all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking, "Hey why do they have it all?" "Why are they always having fun?" "Why do they always look so good" "Why are they always invited to events?" and so forth. You might begin to compare yourselves negatively with others and assume that you are lacking in life.
If you notice yourself starting to compare, remind yourself that the person posting is just like you. They also have their own problems & insecurities. In addition, the photo you see might have taken them a hundred shots just to get the perfect angle to share on social media. If they are an instagram influencer, then chances are they probably paid a lot of money to photograph & photoshop their pictures. Or they probably had to spend a lot of money just to get their hair & make-up down professionally. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that, but just so you are reminded that these photos don't just come naturally. These reminders can help you to stop comparing and remain happy with just how you are.
5. Set a Time Limit
Another aspect to look out for is how much time you spend on social media. Time is money & once it's gone, it's gone. Many social platforms nowadays allow you to set time limits for your screen time & remind you to shut off. You can set alarms to notify you that you've used up your social media time for the day.
Another trick you can try is to delete your social apps from your phone and access them by logging in each time. Since it is a hassle, you might decide that you'd rather do something else instead of scrolling around for hours. If you find that you still have a hard time with controlling how much time you spend on social media as well as being negatively affected by the posts you see, then don't be afraid to take some time off social media & give yourself a break.
We hope that these tips can help you make better use of social media platforms & regain a stronger mental health.