Negative Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health
It triggers more sadness, less well-being.
Comparing our lives with others is mentally unhealthy.
It can lead to jealousy—and a vicious cycle.
We get caught in the delusion of thinking it will help
Loss of Productivity
Reduced Self Esteem
Fear of Missing Out
Reduced Physical Activity
Is Facebook making you depressed? If so, you’re not alone. According to a recent study by UK disability charity Scope, of 1500 Facebook and Twitter users surveyed, 62 percent reported feeling inadequate and 60 percent reported feelings of
jealousy from comparing themselves to other users.
I’ve heard similar complaints from friends and I’ve felt that way myself on occaision. I hear such statements from those who are struggling with depression. It makes sense that if you are already in a depressed mood or not feeling good about yourself, having pictures of happy couples and smiling babies pop up on your screen on a consistent basis may make you feel worse. The same is true if you tend to generally have a negative outlook on life. Wishing things were better won’t make it so. Happiness is an inside job and it won’t come from any social media site. I take a break from social media until I am feeling more confident and can truly be happy for others blessings. No matter how much I wish my life would change, it’s up to me to make those changes.
If Facebook posts depress you, the solution is simple. Here are four things you can do today to help you cope:
Deactivate your Facebook account (you can always reactivate it later)
Unfollow your most (seemingly) happy and successful friends
Remember that Facebook isn’t a representation of reality
Turn off the computer and go make your own annoyingly happy moments
In a study on the effects of Facebook use on mental health, researchers at the University of Georgia State discovered that regular use could lead to symptoms of depression if the site triggered feelings of envy in the user.
“If it is used as a way to size up one’s own accomplishments against others, it can have a negative effect. If it’s used “to see how well an acquaintance is doing financially or how happy an old friend is in his relationship – things that cause envy among users – use of the site can lead to feelings of depression.”
Those who use the site primarily to feel connected do not experience the negative effects of those who are seeking real long lasting friendships although it does happen. In fact, when not triggering feelings of envy, the study shows, Facebook could be a good resource and have positive effects on well-being.
Studies have shown that the majority of social media users tend to edit and post only their most attractive pictures, or ‘put a rose-tinted gloss over their lives’ in an effort to idealize themselves and, researchers believe, to improve others’ impressions of them.
To avoid “Facebook-induced depression”, users should be aware of the risks of using the site as a tool of comparison. Furthermore, users should be aware that most people are presenting a biased, positive version of reality on social media. Finally, if you’re still feeling down, angry, or generally disillusioned because of the positive news shared by your Facebook friends, on or offline, you should question why you feel that way.
Having clinical depression or a recent setback, is it really such a bad thing to see another human being enjoying life, especially if it’s a friend- or at least someone you tolerate enough to accept as a Facebook friend? At times, yes.
With all of the suffering and pain in the world, wouldn’t it be a tragedy if people stopped sharing joyful events for fear of making someone else jealous? Imagine if people only discussed all of the negative things that surrounded them. Especially over this past year, don’t we have enough tragic posts appearing in our newsfeeds 24/7?
Given that there will always be someone who’s taller, richer, better-looking, who has more friends, a better job, etc., we can either allow ourselves to fall into the dangerous trap of comparison, or we can choose to remember that regardless of what others around you appear to have, everyone is grappling with their own struggles. For every promotion, book deal and Tony nomination, chances are, the recipient has experienced equally or more significant life setbacks.
Also important to remember is that for every person that seems to have more, there is another with less. For each individual whose qualities you covet, there’s someone out there who wishes they had what you have. If we can’t change our outer circumstances, at least we can try to change our perspective and learn to be grateful for what we have. We can also learn to celebrate other’s successes. Sharing in other people’s joy can often lift our spirits.
These suggestions may be difficult, especially if you’re struggling with low self-worth or depression. If that is the case, seek help from a friend or a professional. Whether it’s reaching out for support, practicing gratitude or simply surrounding yourself with more of the positive, you owe it to yourself to make the best out of this life.
Stop torturing yourself by comparing your life with everyone else’s positively biased representations of theirs. Seek to improve your own life in a realistic manner. Choose to look at the positives and to celebrate your wins… as well as theirs.
It’s not all what it seems to be on social media. People want to look good, be successful, be envied and most of all be liked.
Positive ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health
A boost to mental development
Encouragement to overcome depression
Quicker and more accessible to knowledge bases
Participating actively on social media can actually improve certain cognitive processes and boost your brain power. Writing positive posts and finding ways to help other users will make you seek for relevant knowledge, do some brainstorming and deeper research. For instance, if you interact with people in your field or profession, you will be stimulated to learn more about the latest advances in your field. And this could lead to faster career advancement.
Social media can help you come out out of depression. You can receive comforting words and inspiring stories from your friends everyday. And this will reduce the impact of the isolation and stigma associated with mental illness. In addition to the massive social networks like Facebook, several other patient advocacy websites like Mental Health Tribe, WeGoHealth and Patients Like Me are very helpful. They enable people who are battling with a particular mental condition to communicate with others with similar challenges. Through these media, people can learn better treatment protocols, develop coping skills, and feel less ashamed.
Social media provides faster access to information and details that may take you weeks or months to research and discover by yourself. This works for both personal and professional research. For instance, if you need first-hand information about the performance of a particular weight-loss program, you can post a question about it and you will receive several sincere responses from people who have tried the program. Many times this is better than reading customer reviews which are have been solicited by product manufacturers, which is not always the case. People can think and respond for themselves.