The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health

Joseph Meyer

Living in the 21st century Social Media has become a part of our daily lives, as we use it to keep in touch with just about everything from followers, friends and family, the news and basically anything that goes on in the world today.

For some Social Media is the best thing since sliced bread but not everyone feels that way because of some of the harm that can done. For me social media was one of those take or leave type of communications when my first introduction was Myspace, then Facebook and now Twitter. I know there is so much more to Social Media than Facebook and Twitter, as there is also Instagram, Pinterest, Snap Chat, LinkedIn and so many others to nme.

Personally, I have used social media as a tool for business as a one-time Social Media Manager so I know the power of reach when it comes to getting the word out effectively and at a low cost.  You can literally reach millions in a matter of seconds which makes social media so power especially from a marketing standpoint.

In my view although there are definite positives to using it, I find there are more negatives to using it, but I will say that it all depends on how you let it rule you overall. Social Media has the tendency to rule people instead of the other way around as many us are addicted to knowing what is going on constantly.

I will say I have this problem; I tend to use Twitter because as a writer I want to build a platform of for my future work of blogs and books and of course to a certain degree for personal reasons.  Even using it for that purpose I tend to have information overload as it literally has tons of connections and information such as news and having real time updates on the latest.

I have grown attached to twitter because I want to know what is happening at all times, when deep down it really is affecting me mentally and my focus. It also affects how I perceive realistic expectations for my life as I look at others lives. I find it true that social media can cause depression as we look at those who post looking happier, healthier, wealthier living their best lives. Some would say yeah that’s them that’s not me I can separate reality from fiction. If you have the attitude where it doesn’t affect you I applaud you.

Social media gives the impression that people are living perfect lives while looking perfect with filters and if you like me have a problem with your own life and how content you are living your own life then Social media may not be the best thing for you. In addition social media has what so many love which is freedom of expression which is great but many times people post things are simply inappropriate who push the limits of what should be viewed. I am not trying to control what people post but hope you see what I mean when others will post horrific things that unfortunately you cannot un-see.

There are literally hundreds, probably thousands of articles on the affects, one of which I found interesting I found here:

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/social-media-mental-health-negative-effects-depression-anxiety-addiction-memory-a8307196.html

Some of areas I found most important include:

1. Self Esteem

For those who have self-esteem issues, we look at social media and we tend to make comparisons of those we see whether it’s someone who atheistically beautiful, someone who has more wealth or perceived better life then you. Does this sound like you? Maybe if you struggle with self-esteem it may be time to step away and build yourself up to not focus on the those aspects and appreciate you for how special you are.

2. Human Connection

For many of us Human connection is so important because many of us have a difficult time making friends, having conversations and Social Media may be the perfect way because you don’t have the physically be there with someone, but we all need physical contact to feel connected something social media doesn’t offer.

3. Memory

Social media remembers EVERYTHING which can be a good things and bad thing. The good thing is it can remember milestones, birthdays, anniversaries, pictures from the past which may also remind you of hardships I know it does for me. If you are like me I tend to dwell on the past too much think about my past failure’s something social media is good at.

4. Sleep

Having enough sleep is so important to our mental health, but for many of us its hard to put the phone down without looking at every few minutes. Looking at social media before bed can have negative affects because its what we will think about before hitting the hay. Imagine if you will looking at someone else’s life and then thinking about how you don’t compare to that persons life and getting depressed before bed, I know it has happened to me maybe to you as well.

5. Attention Span

Although its incredible to have so much information at your fingertips, it also affects our attention span as we go from one topic, thread, subject to the next in seconds.  If you find yourself checking your phone, the twitter or Facebook maybe you need to work on having more control and putting those sites aside for now or taking a break for a few days and maybe even a week to give yourself a chance to recoup and lose the attachment.

6. Mental Health

Being someone who struggles with mental health at times I can tell you social media does have an affect over how I perceive my life. I really do see at times it’s a fight for my happiness against those I don’t know on social media who have who I yearn for in my life maybe a house, a better car, money, but it’s different for everyone, maybe you see beauty, maybe technology. We really have to recognize that mental health comes first and then social media.

Social Media is Here to Stay

Study after study show the negative affects of social media, but I will say it just depends on the person, but more and more people are struggling to maintain healthy relationships both physically and mentally due to social media and our addition to always being connected. Its important to unplug spend time with family and friends, give them a call and actually speak to those in your life.

All to often we lose the human connection due to social media and really give way too much of our lives online that can affect us in the future. Consider how much you use it and if you feel you are using it too much maybe put some controls or limits and ween yourself off for awhile or permanently.

I am not against social media it has a purpose but within reason we have to realise that social media is not a substitute for living life and its not a substitute for having relationships with people. I understand it’s the times we live in but prior to social media we as people were mentally healthier and relationships were one on one not shared through a phone screen.

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