How Does Social Media Impact Your Mental Health?
Social media has become a vital part of our daily lives. Updating our stories, status & feed with our life updates is our priority now. Online activities have increased during the worldwide lockdown, but it's time to keep a track of our screen time to keep ourselves mentally fit & happy.
Halfway into 2020, there have been changes in the digital landscape around the globe. Coronavirus pandemic has drastically affected people worldwide & their day-to-day activities have been constantly changing. Lockdowns may have been lifted in many places but the digital behavior adopted by people has not changed. The social media usage & internet increased with the start of the pandemic. According to research by Global WebIndex, social media users have been spending almost 2 Hrs. & 24 minutes a day across 8 social media apps.
Did you know excessive usage of social media infuses a feeling of anxiety, loneliness, stress, sleeplessness, depression? While you have been social distancing due to coronavirus outbreak, online social media posts, videos, stories, group video calls have been keeping you in touch with your friends & family. But if staying online on social media platforms makes you anxious, it’s a red flag & it’s time to keep a track of your digital activities.
The relation between Social Media & Mental Health:
Due to no social interactions, parties, events, people are now dependent on online friendships. Humans cannot sustain without social interactions & it becomes tougher each day. While platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube have helped us in keeping us occupied & connected, deep down it has made us social media addicts. People are on their phone for 4-5 Hrs. every day, replacing it with the human contact. Too much usage of social media leads to stress & anxiety. It becomes hard to keep a track of online activities which results in excessive usage.
Mental health risks related to social media:
There have been many negative aspects reported that arise due to the excessive usage of social media platforms. These feelings of sadness, anxiety might lower down your self-esteem & make you insecure. While scrolling your feed, you see many perfectly clicked photograph of your friends, celebrities, while you are aware that those might be edited, still, you unconsciously compare yourself to them. It gives you a feeling of dissatisfaction, jealousy & you become insecure.
Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a topic that has been talked about since social media came into our lives. Not sharing updates, not checking people’s updates in their lives tend to make us anxious & we feel FOMO. Sometimes we risk our life to check social media updates while driving while eating & losing sleep. Humans need to engage in human to human contact to release happy hormones like endorphins & to keep the stress hormones away.
Signs indicating that you need to lessen social media usage:
- If you are prioritizing online friends more than your family & real-life friends.
- If you are always distracted & unable to focus.
- Unable to sit idle & engage in your thoughts of self-reflection.
- Gaining likes & comments are more important to you.
- Unable to sleep properly
- Feeling anxious & stressed
Step by step process to improve your mental health:
- Use an app to keep your social media activities on track. Set a screen time target for each day & try to achieve it.
- Try turning off your mobile phone during any certain time of the day.
- Never bring your phone to bed.
- Snooze off or disable notifications.
- Remove social media apps from your phone for some days.
- Start a journal to gather your thoughts.
- Engage in any hobby such as painting, singing, etc.
- Do more of your household work.
- Sleep early & get up early for better mental health.
- Practice mindfulness & breathing meditation.
Small changes in your regular lifestyle will keep you less dependent on social media. It will help you in keeping mental health intact & in a happy state of mind.