What is Social Media Doing to Your Mental Health?
The average person picks up their phone to check those alluring notifications at least 28 times a day. You may have noticed you aren’t always satisfied when you give into this enticement. In fact, you might feel unhappy or even guilty.
Many of us know social media isn’t good for our mental health. Yet, we continuously go back and give into its allure. The unpopular truth is, in the right hands, these platforms are addictive.
Yet, what many of us don’t entirely understand is how social media is bad for our mental health. This blog seeks to tell you all the ways in which you could be hurting yourself simply by looking at your phone.
Many people take the opportunity to use social media as a means of going back and briefly reliving fond memories. Yet, you may not be aware, that memory could be distorted due to your portrayal of it on social media.
Let’s be honest, many of us seek to capture only the best photos to share. As we spend time considering what our followers think, we often ignore the experience happen before us. And though we may have snapped a picture even Ansel Adams would be impressed with, there’s a chance it won’t be an accurate representation of what went on that day.
According to the author of When Likes Aren’t Enough, Dr. Tim Bono, “Spending too much time on our phones will detract from those other aspects of the experience, undermining the happiness we could be gleaning from them.”
Taking Away from Sleep
Did you know the light from your phone screen isn’t good for your eyes? Did you know even more it can prevent you from sleeping? This is due to the fact that the light suppresses melatonin, the hormone which allows our brains to know when we feel tired.
The light also makes you alert and keen. Particularly, on certain emotions. For example, if you’re feeling anxious about something or envious towards someone on social media, your turning on your brain by turning on the phone.
Dividing Human Connection
We’re all aware social media allows us to interact with people in ways we were never able to before. Yet, you’ve also probably heard the idea that social media is dividing genuine human connection.
How can it do both?
As mentioned, our social media profiles are like set up outlines of how we want to be perceived. They’re a facade that doesn’t give people a true sense of who we are and what our real-life personality entails.
For example, through online dating applications, people are given a basic outline of who someone is; from their hobbies to their favorite television show alongside their best photos. Yet, you don’t really know what this person’s mannerisms are nor the true nature of interaction with them.
In another example, let’s say your friend threw a party and you weren’t invited. The following day, you open up Facebook or Instagram to find pictures upon pictures of this party. In turn, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you were left feeling lonely.
One of the biggest problems with social media is we often use it to compare our lives to others. You do a bit of Instagram stalking and come across an acquaintance’s perfectly setup profile and you get the sense that they live a more captivating life than you.
In a study done by the University of Copenhagen, it was revealed that people suffer from a little something known as “Facebook Envy”. Dr. Bono notes, “When we derive a sense of worth based on how we are doing relative to others, we place our happiness in a variable that is completely beyond our control.”
Bottom Line - Your Mental Health
When it comes down to it, social media does more damage than good. Though people have been able to interact and network and develop friendships in ways they haven’t been able to before, they’ve also done just the opposite. They’ve developed mental health issues such as anxiety and depression in ways they haven’t been able to before.
The next time you’re scrolling around Instagram or checking your Twitter newsfeed, keep these things in mind. And maybe consider putting the phone down.
Written by Paul James.