We’ve all heard that social media can take a toll on our mental health and I’m sure it stands true for many of us. We literally spend so much time on social media on regular basis that not using it is almost seen as a taboo. Ok, tell me how many of you check your social media accounts right after waking up or keep scrolling notifications till late night. And even don’t miss any chance throughout the day to use social media. Well I’m sure many of you must be thinking – Oh that’s me.
Well, I personally have been at a point where I started feeling burnout and stressed with the continuous usage of social media. I remember last year, I was being very active on Instagram to share my travel tales and photographs. Alongside, I was feeling a constant pressure of posting regularly and staying updated as well. But after some point, I realized that NO – This is not what I want my life to look like. I didn’t want to be a person who just share every highlight of her life on social media. It was like doing the things just to be part of rat race and not being genuinely happy.
SOCIAL MEDIA’S INFLUENCE
Well, I believe it is a great platform to connect with people with same interest and passion. I myself have met some really incredible people on social media who are now a significant part of my life. But alongside, even though it is a great place to connect with people, we still feel lonely after spending hours on it. Why? Because it’s important to remember that social media can never be a replacement for real-world connections.
Every phenomenon with itself follows numerous negative and positive impacts. Before moving ahead, let’s talk about the positive and negative aspects of social media.
SOCIAL MEDIA ADVANTAGES
While virtual connections on social media doesn’t have the same psychological benefits as face-to-face connect, yet there are still many positivities of this.
1. Connect with people
Social Media is a great way to connect with people who shares same interest and passion. Not only this, we can also connect with some inspirational personalities and can learn from their stories.
2. Valuable Information and learning
Social Media is a place where millions of users come on regular basis and share their personal ideas and opinions on different concepts. One can grab new ideas, inspirations and different way of thinking.
I don’t think there is any other better place for entertainment than on social media. Well, Youtube is my favorite place to go when my mind search for some soothing songs, funny videos or whatever I want.
4. Being well-informed
Gone are the days where people used to wait for their newspapers to arrive in the morning. In this digital era, people find social media a more relevant place to stay well informed about the current affairs running around the globe.
5. Free E-courses
As I mentioned, social media is a great place to connect with people. Likewise, there are many reputed organizations who provide free E-Courses through their channels to help you make the most out of your spare time and polish your skills in any particular aspect.
SOCIAL MEDIA DISADVANTAGES | HOW DOES SOCIAL MEDIA AFFECTS MENTAL HEALTH
Well, the comparison part of social media is not fun. Multiple studies have shown that there is a strong link between social media and an increased rate of depression, anxiety, loneliness, insecurity and self-harm. Here, I’ve outlined few factors about – What does social media do to your brain.
1. Inadequacy about your appearance
Well, this is the most common issue that every other person confronts. Even though you know the images on social media are highly filtered, but you still compare and feel insecure about the way you look. Isn’t that stupid? Do you even realize that everybody is trying to post the best version of themselves which is not even realistic.
Remember, most of those who present themselves as the most confident are actually the most insecure ones. The ones who says they’re at peace are the ones struggling the most with their running thoughts. Sounds weird?? But unfortunately, that’s the truth.
Read this next – Six ways to build healthy self-esteem and be confident.
2. Fear of missing out
When we see other people on social networking sites having fun, travelling different places, wearing trendy outfits and so on, it somewhere impact on our mental health that we are missing out on life. The idea of missing out certain things can impact your self-esteem, triggers anxiety and result in more usage of social media. You need to understand that it is just a reel of highlights where one can portray whatever image they want to.
3. Takes you to the fancy world
As I mentioned earlier, there is no substitute to real world connections. I see people showing gratitude, how much someone mean to them and much more on their posts which is good. But have you ever tell those people in person that how much they actually mean to you and how does they make difference in your lives. If no, today, go and tell them how much you value them or call and tell them how special that person is for you.
The excessive social media usage gives birth to the problem of self-absorption. Now what does it mean? Well, sharing endless selfies and almost all your innermost thoughts on social media is not considered to be the right approach. Often times, our posts and stories says a lot about what we are feeling at the moment. Remember, sharing each and every thought on public note is an unhealthy way to create self-centeredness which can disturb your mental peace in the long run.
5. Constant Pressure
You start feeling constant pressure to post regularly and you’re more focused on capturing the moments rather than living them. Moreover, you start feeling disturbed when you have nothing to share and ultimately, you end up sharing things which doesn’t even need to be shared. In addition to this, you continuously crave for likes, comments and followers. But guys, you need to understand that your likes don’t define your life. Social media is just a part of your life, not your whole life.
6. Worsened Sleeping Problems
Social media not only affects your mental health, but physical health too. The blue light of phone and continuous usage of phone till late night can disrupt your sleeping patterns. And feeding your mind with disturbing things right after waking up or right before sleeping can have a serious impact on your mental health.
SEVEN WAYS TO HAVE HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
If you want to reevaluate your relationship with social media, here are some tips for healthier social media habits.
1. Unfollow the Negativities
The first tip to have healthy relationship with social media is to unfollow the people who add negativity into your life. Just like you prefer to cut off with toxic people in real life, unfollow everyone on social media who shift your mood in negative direction. Unfollow people who makes you compare your life with theirs. So the key to have mindful relationship with social media is to remove the following people –
- Who shares depressed or negative content.
- The ones who are fake and you feel disturbed after seeing their feeds.
- People you’ve broken up with or not in touch with anymore.
- Who post hate comments just to provoke the argument.
- Those who are racist.
- Who post hate content for the sake of awareness.
Sometimes, the toxic person on your feed can be a sensitive relation like a family member, friend or an acquaintance. And you might feel that it’s awkward, or you don’t want to hurt that person or create any disturbance in your relationship. But remember, unfollowing someone on social media does not need to be a dramatic event or mean any harm. You are doing this for your own well-being.
“EVERYTHING THAT COSTS YOUR MENTAL PEACE IS TOO EXPENSIVE”
2. Take the advantage of mute button
If you’re still confused about the above point, you have the option to mute people on Snapchat, Instagram, Whatsapp and Twitter. While Facebook has the option to unfollow. Sometimes, the relationships are really sensitive that you can’t directly unfollow or block that toxic person. In that case, you can mute their feeds without unfollowing them. Even I often try this when I want to be on social media mindfully without so much noise.
3. No Social media after waking up
In my previous blogs, I’ve shared that how the first hours of our morning can affect our rest of the day. So, not only social media but avoid using your phone right after waking up. Checking up your phone first thing in the morning is the worst habit one can have. It can not only disturb your peace and mindset, but can also lower your productivity level throughout the day.
Read this next – My productive and mindful morning routine
4. Turn off the notifications
Well, I’m sure many of you can understand how distracting the notification alert is. No matter how busy we are, we don’t miss the chance to check our phone when any notification rings. So, to avoid these constant distractions, I always prefer to turn off the social media notification alerts while studying or working. I know there are a host of people who can’t deal with missing something, but to be honest, I’m not one of those people and you can become that person too.
5. Take a Break once a week
OK, so this might sound difficult to many but having a break from social media once a week and connecting with real world is highly imperative. Try to log out your social media accounts once a week. And take a notice on how you spend your time. You can spend quality time with family or can visit at your friend’s place. Perhaps, you can also discover any hobby or can practice mindfulness. Utilize this time to live an exciting life instead of living through a screen.
6. Don’t post unnecessarily
Before you post something, analyze if the content is helpful or harmful to others. Don’t keep posting anything or everything. Also, you don’t need to post every part of your life like how you’re feeling at the moment, what you’re eating, whether you’ve been to gym or not, whether you had party last night or not. I’ve been at that point of staying consistent with my IG feeds and trust me, it added nothing but a lot of noise in my life.
7. Keep your phone away before going to bed
Keeping your phone with you on bed just like a stuff toy is not cool anyway. Remember, checking up your phone till late night can disrupt your sleeping habits. But I can understand how difficult it is to stop ourselves from using phone when you can’t fall asleep. So to avoid using phone till late night, my simple mantra is to put my phone on airplane mode and keep it outside of my bedroom. So that I don’t rush to use phone if any thoughts hits my mind.
I hope this post has encouraged you to make some changes if you feel uninspired by the world of social media.