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Can the constant connection with our social media world affect our mental health?
I often say this out of annoyance, but how many of you may feel we are addicted and held hostage by social media? Can anyone relate to this feeling?
According to EarthWeb technology research’s latest statistic, 295.48 million in the United States are using social platforms.
Social networking and sharing photos, videos, and selfies may help to keep that connection with family and friends who live far away. Social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and more, are great tools, especially for the elderly and those suffering from chronic illnesses or a disability to feel less isolated and lonely. Still, like everything else, there are some dark sides to social apps.
But first, let’s ask ourselves the following question: for distraction and entertainment, it should be harmless if you spend several hours browsing throughout the day on your social apps, right? After all, all you do is scroll on your white screen and look. On the contrary, experts have discovered a correlation between social media users and poor mental health, such as anxiety and depression.
Also, another study published in Guilford Journal has confirmed that spending less time on our social platforms can help us feel less depressed or lonely. The study concluded that spending about thirty minutes daily; can remarkably improve our well-being.
What you see in the social media world is not always peachy. Here are some things to keep in mind:
As a community of social media users, we face nonstop pictures of attractive individuals smiling like their life is always perfect, especially when they are on vacation. But sometimes, things don’t always go as planned.
For example, an Instagram user I follow recently shared her pictures of a recent trip to Northern Italy, smiling like she was having the time of her life. Then later, she shared with her followers that before selfies, the stress was intense; in the summer heat, they got lost in their car garage and could not find their car and the exit.
And let’s not forget that those near-perfect pictures of influencers and celebrities, most of which have personal trainers you see on your social apps, are not essential to improving our self-esteem. Bizarrely, you know when your self-esteem is taken a blow when shortly after browsing through those photos, you start to wonder if you should eat fewer carbs, lose more weight, or exercise more. That alone can put our young ones at risk of taking unhealthy measures to achieve that ideal thin figure of someone with a perfect six-pack.
How low self-esteem affects us? An interesting article published by Mayo Clinic stated that low self-esteem could negatively affect our health, job, and relationships.
“Low self-esteem can affect nearly every aspect of life. It can impact your relationships, job, and health. But you can boost your self-esteem by taking cues from mental health counseling.”
Life is a process of learning, and throughout our lives, especially in adulthood, it is imperative to put what is best for ourselves to seek happiness in life and—the community of people we surrender to online and offline matters. We need to pay attention to anything or anyone toxic.
Also, for those near-perfect pictures, it is essential to remember that some technical magic of photo editing tools has been applied to posts before posting them. We are all familiar with digital filters, and we can easily adjust the color and the sharpness of the photos, that way, you will not notice any flaws. Ultimately, the image will look more attractive and intriguing to others.
As a solution, there is nothing wrong if you unfollow or block any sites or accounts that make you feel inadequate or always disagree with your views to drain your energy. Don’t feel guilty about letting those who don’t inspire you in life; it is perfectly acceptable if you don’t share your life with the ones that don’t bring you joy.
Can we be addicted to social media?
Everyone, when you look around, seems to repeat nonstop the same activity, such as scrolling and looking. Then you proceed to repeat the same thing nonstop throughout the day. Our brain produces a happy chemical, such as dopamine, linked to the happy hormone.
This neurotransmitter stimulates the pleasure and reward we often feel after a heavy workout or eating a delicious dinner or a tiramisu. So, when we feel the urge to scroll through our feeds obsessively nonstop throughout the day, our brain produces that gratifying feel-good hormone as a reward.
“When you experience more dopamine after using social media, your brain identifies this activity as a rewarding one that you ought to repeat. Such a reaction may be more felt whenever you make a post of your own and gain positive feedback.”
Knowing the facts about the issue will help us make the necessary changes in our lives.
Quitting cold turkey will not be easy; you may experience some neurological withdrawals. The first week off from social media made me feel restless and isolated from the rest of the world. However, I knew that I needed to prioritize and optimize what was best for my mental well-being.
No one said that setting boundaries with your white screen would be easy. It will take some inner strength to take a break from your social media and ignore your desire to obsessively check the feeds on your social platform. Or perhaps remove your social apps from your phones or deactivate your account. But in the end, the benefits are many.
If you make the necessary adjustment each day to limit your time browsing your digital community, you will discover that you have the power to replace an old pattern with a new one. Additionally, you will feel relaxed and more focused on your own life and happiness than others.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of anxiety and depression due to an addiction to social media, seek the help of a therapist who can help you with your issue to find healthier ways to deal with your situation.