Social media’s impact on our mental health
When you scroll through your Facebook or Twitter feeds, how does this make you feel?
Like many, you may not have considered this before. Social media has become such an integral part of modern culture that we can go into autopilot when using it. This means we don’t acknowledge what we are feeling as we move from one post to the next.
However, particularly in light of recent news and events, the harmful implications of life on social media have become pretty obvious. Frequent interaction with negative headlines and people’s responses to these online can actively encourage feelings such as anger, sadness, loneliness and resentment, as well as intensify difficulties like depression and anxiety.
In addition to the focus on negative news, exposure to social media can lead us to form false views about how wonderful other people’s lives are, based on photos and experiences they share on these platforms. This can result in people experiencing ‘FOMO’ or the fear of missing out, and consequently lead to feelings of low self-esteem and inferiority.
Social media has brought the world closer together, but it also has a darker side. So how can you take steps to limit exposure to this side of these platforms and develop a healthier relationship with them?
Manage social media around your mental health
Firstly, take some time to manage your social media feeds to give yourself the most positive experience on this platform. If people or other accounts are frustrating or upsetting you, unfollow or unfriend these and surround yourself with others that promote positivity.
Platforms like Twitter allow you to filter your feed to avoid certain words or phrases, which can also help clear your feed of negativity.
Moderate your social media usage
Next, take regular breaks from the platforms. Both Facebook and Instagram have introduced tools you can use to limit your time on them. By freeing yourself from your phone you can devote time to reconnecting with people in-person, getting in touch with nature, or exploring new hobbies and activities.
Be mindful of what you see and how you feel
Another way to take time out is practising mindfulness. This can be a powerful technique to keep you ‘in the moment’ and aware of your feelings. This can help you identify when social media is starting to negatively affect you and if you require a break, or by taking your focus away briefly to allow you to refocus and assess your feelings before resuming.
Social media is now woven tightly into modern life, but we shouldn’t allow it to overwhelm our emotional wellbeing. We hope this has given you some food for thought on how you interact with these platforms and how that is affecting your wellbeing.
For support in addressing any difficulties that you have been facing, whether these have been influenced by social media or not, our team at Therapy For You are here to guide you on the path to feeling better.