Social media has become a big part of our lives. It is hard to imagine a world without social media, especially for the younger generation. Social media platform provides people an opportunity to stay connected in a fast-changing world. There is a strong connection between social media and mental health. As social animals, humans are born with the need for interactions, connections, and a sense of belonging. The human brain releases dopamine whenever a friendly interaction occurs; thus, the sense of reward enables the behavior to repeat. In a 2018 survey by the technology company Asurion, on average, Americans check their phones 80 times a day. According to the study, the highest users check their phones around 300 times daily.
Negative Impacts of Social Media
Social media has undoubtedly made interaction and connections much easier, but it has also caused negative impacts. The average concentration time of a human mind has drastically reduced. Each time we open our phones, our concentration level on a vital subject breaks down. According to a research study, social media has promoted several online problems. The most prominent issues emerging from excessive social media use were online harassment, sexting/texting, a decline in intellectual abilities, anxiety, stress, depression, and loneliness. As a result of rapid social media use, the young generation, above all, is at higher risk for mental health issues.
Reducing impacts of Social Media on mental health
Despite social media being an unavoidable reality in our lives, there are ways to minimize social media impacts and use it to our advantage. According to a 2018, University of Pennsylvania study reducing social media use for just 30 minutes can lower levels of anxiety, FOMO, depression, and loneliness. The study suggests that it is better not to reduce your social media but gradually minimize it.
Another way of reducing the negative impacts of social media is by using the SM platforms mindfully. Mindful social media use can mean many things. An individual can use social media to have interactions with friends and family. It can also mean following pages and people who promote positive thinking. Mindful use of SM also incorporates using the platforms to promote your initiatives and motivating people to create something functional and valuable.
Taking a break
Everyone is only sharing their positive and happy moments on social media. That often leads to comparisons and anxiety. It is essential to reflect on your engagement before comparing yourself with others. You could also be sharing only achievements on social media, and is that a true reflection of your life?. If you feel like constant news of accomplishments from your friends and family is exhausting your mental health, give yourself a break. Give a pause to your social media use for a few days if possible. If that is not an option for you, you can always stop notifications from certain people. Giving yourself a break and not knowing what others are doing can make you grateful for what you have in life. Allow yourself to accept that not everything posted on social media is a true reflection of people’s lives.
Be creative with your time
It is a reality that social media feeds us many things daily. Do not let that kill your imagination and creativity. Take out time to cook something for yourself and your family. Invite your friends to engage in an art and craft project. Try to recreate something from your childhood that gives you happiness. If the digital world is unavoidable for you, use digital platforms to express your creativity. Do not be afraid to produce something new and unique to share.
In conclusion, accepting the reality of social media in our life and using it for your advantage can help your well-being and reduce mental health issues.