Social Media and Mental Health

8BDg...rfir
29 Nov 2023
38

While many of us enjoy staying connected on social media, excessive use can fuel feelings of addiction, anxiety, depression, isolation, and FOMO. Here’s how to modify your habits and improve your mood.
THe role social media plays in mental health
Human beings are social creatures. We need the companionship of others to thrive in life, and the strength of





















-Find out new communities and ambitions and promotes yourself.







-Other causes of unhealthy social media use A fear of missing out (FOMO) can keep you returning to social media over and over again. Even though there are very few things that can’t wait or need an immediate response, FOMO will have you believing otherwise. Perhaps you’re worried that you’ll be left out of the conversation at school or work if you miss the latest news or gossip on social media? Or maybe you feel that your relationships will suffer if you don’t immediately like, share, or respond to other people’s posts? Or you could be worried you’ll miss out on an invitation or that other people are having a better time than you. Many of us use social media as a “security blanket”. Whenever we’re in a social situation and feel anxious, awkward, or lonely, we turn to our phones and log on to social media. Of course, interacting with social media only denies you the face-to-face interaction that can help to ease anxiety. Your heavy social media use could be masking other underlying problems, such as stress, depression, or boredom. If you spend more time on social media when you’re feeling down, lonely, or bored, you may be using it as a way to distract yourself from unpleasant feelings or self-soothe your moods. While it can be difficult at first, allowing yourself to feel can open you up to finding healthier ways to manage your moods. The vicious cycle of unhealthy social media use Excessive social media use can create a negative, self-perpetuating cycle: When you feel lonely, depressed, anxious, or stressed, you use social media more often—as a way to relieve boredom or feel connected to others. 01. Using social media more often, though, increases FOMO and feelings of inadequacy, dissatisfaction, and isolation. 02. In turn, these feelings negatively affect your mood and worsen symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. 03. These worsening symptoms cause you to use social media even more, and so the downward spiral continues.
Are you an active or a passive user on social media? Passively scrolling through posts or anonymously following the interaction of others on social media doesn’t provide any meaningful sense of connection. It may even increase feelings of isolation. Being an active participant, though, will offer you more engagement with others. Does social media leave you feeling inadequate or disappointed about your life? You can counter symptoms of FOMO by focusing on what you have, rather than what you lack. Make a list of all the positive aspects of your life and read it back when you feel you’re missing out on something better. And remember: no one’s life is ever as perfect as it seems on social media. We all deal with heartache, self-doubt, and disappointment, even if we choose not to share it online. Step 3: Spend more time with offline friends We all need the face-to-face company of others to be happy and healthy. At its best, social media is a great tool for facilitating real-life connections. But if you’ve allowed virtual connections to replace real-life friendships in your life, there are plenty of ways to build meaningful connections without relying on social media. Set aside time each week to interact offline with friends and family. Try to make it a regular get-together where you always keep your phones off. If you’ve neglected face-to-face friendships, reach out to an old friend (or an online friend) and arrange to meet up. If you both lead busy lives, offer to run errands or exercise together. Join a club. Find a hobby, creative endeavor, or fitness activity you enjoy and join a group of like-minded individuals that meet on a regular basis. Don’t let social awkwardness stand in the way. Even if you’re shy, there are proven techniques to overcome insecurity and build friendships. If you don’t feel that you have anyone to spend time with, reach out to acquaintances. Lots of other people feel just as uncomfortable about making new friends as you do—so be the one to break the ice. Invite a coworker out for lunch or ask a neighbor or classmate to join you for coffee. Interact with strangers. Look up from your screen and connect with people you cross paths with on public transport, at the coffee shop, or in the grocery store. Simply smiling or saying hello will improve how you feel—and you never know where it may lead. Step 4: Express gratitude Feeling and expressing gratitude about the important things in your life can be a welcome relief to the resentment, animosity, and discontent sometimes generated by social media. Take time for reflection. Try keeping a gratitude journal or using a gratitude app. Keep track of all the great memories and positives in your life—as well as those things and people you’d miss if they were suddenly absent from your life. If you’re more prone to venting or negative posts, you can even express your gratitude on social media—although you may benefit more from private reflection that isn’t subject to the scrutiny of others.Practice mindfulness. Experiencing FOMO and comparing yourself unfavorably to others keeps you dwelling on life’s disappointments and frustrations. Instead of being fully engaged in the present, you’re focused on the “what ifs” and the “if onlys” that prevent you from having a life that matches those you see on social media. By practicing mindfulness, you can learn to live more in the present moment, lessen the impact of FOMO, and improve your overall mental wellbeing. Volunteer. Just as human beings are hard-wired to seek social connection, we’re also hard-wired to give to others. Helping other people or animals not only enriches your community and benefits a cause that’s important to you, but it also makes you feel happier and more grateful. Helping a child or teen with unhealthy social media use Childhood and the teenage years can be filled with developmental challenges and social pressures. For some kids, social media has a way of exacerbating those problems and fueling anxiety, bullying, depression, and issues with self-esteem. If you’re worried about your child’s social media use, it can be tempting to simply confiscate their phone or other device. But that can create further problems, separating your child from their friends and the positive aspects of social media. Instead, there are other ways to help your child use Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms in a more responsible way. Monitor and limit your child’s social media use. The more you know about how your child is interacting on social media, the better you’ll be able to address any problems. Parental control apps can help limit your child’s data usage or restrict their phone use to certain times of the day. You can also adjust privacy settings on the different platforms to limit their potential exposure to bullies or predators. Talk to your child about underlying issues. Problems with social media use can often mask deeper issues. Is your child having problems fitting in at school? Are they suffering from shyness or social anxiety? Are problems at home causing them stress? Enforce “social media” breaks. For example, you could ban social media until your child has completed their homework in the evening, not allow phones at the dinner table or in their bedroom, and plan family activities that preclude the use of phones or other devices. To prevent sleep problems, always insist phones are turned off at least one hour before bed. Teach your child how social media is not an accurate reflection of people’s lives. They shouldn’t compare themselves or their lives negatively to others on social media. People only post what they want others to see. Images are manipulated or carefully posed and selected. And having fewer friends on social media doesn’t make your child less popular or less worthy. Encourage exercise and offline interests. Get your child away from social media by encouraging them to pursue physical activities and hobbies that involve real-world interaction. Exercise is great for relieving anxiety and stress, boosting self-esteem, and improving mood—and is something you can do as a family. The more engaged your child is offline, the less their mood and sense of self-worth will be dependent on how many friends, likes, or shares they have on social media.

Write & Read to Earn with BULB

Learn More

Enjoy this blog? Subscribe to Jaffar.shah

2 Comments

B
No comments yet.
Most relevant comments are displayed, so some may have been filtered out.