Social Media and Your Mental Health

It’s no secret that social media plays a BIG role in just about every person’s day to day routine and that role does noticeably have quite an effect on us all whether we want to admit it, or not.

How could systems that have so carefully been designed to bring us closer to our friends and family be “bad” for our mental health?

Much like the elusive algorithm – it’s complicated.

Think about it.

When you log on there tends to immediately be a social comparison. Almost always, you don’t even have to be aware this is happening, but it’s there. And everything on the other side is all CURATED.

The lighting is just right, the words are hand picked.

Even their bad days are better than yours. So, naturally it feels like a constant feeling of “what am I doing in my life?”

These constant “upward social comparisons” can happen hundreds of times each day, depending on how frequently you check your social media feeds. So naturally, we can tend to essentially ride an emotional roller coaster when we are obsessing over social media.

So naturally, we can tend to essentially ride an emotional roller coaster when we are obsessing over social media.

Ever heard of FOMO? Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is another mental health effect that’s been strongly linked with the use of social media.

The FOMO experience specifically is this feeling like, I could have been there but I wasn’t.

When you really sit and think about it, even your own timeline, how many times did you feel like someone didn’t like you or like you were left out of something because maybe you “didn’t get invited” or simply didn’t go somewhere.

The now ubiquitous use of social media and technology has created a world in which we can gaze into our own crystal ball to see what our friends are doing at almost any time of day. And that’s clearly not always a good thing.

So, should we all just be using less social media?

Maybe.

Nevertheless, what’s clear is that social media isn’t going away. If anything, this kind of technology will likely only grow more pervasive.

WAYS TO MANAGE YOUR TIME ON SOCIAL

APPLE: If you use an iOS device such as an iPhone or an iPad, you have a built-in app on your device called Screen Time. Located in the Settings app, the feature allows you to specify what apps can be used and for how long on your device. There are tons of other features as well that let you impose restrictions on the usage of your device.

Some of the features Screen Time has for you are:

  • Downtime – this allows you to specify a time during which your phone will be down so that you are away from it.
  • App limits – this lets you set limitations on the apps available on your device.
  • Always allowed apps – here you can choose the apps that should be available all the time regardless of any restrictions.
  • Content blocking – this lets you block any inappropriate content on your device.

ANDROID: Dashboard, a feature for Android devices, helps you monitor the amount of time you spend completing different tasks on your phone. Google will break down your screen time usage by activity and even suggest screen breaks in certain apps like YouTube.

We can all agree that social media is great for boosting sales and creating awareness for your brand. Just make sure you’re finding time to take breaks and giving yourself mental space, too.

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