Is Social Media Bad for Your Mental Health?

March 23, 2020

Social media use can increase depression and loneliness, according to a recent study. So, if you have been feeling a bit low lately, but you can’t quite put your finger on why, it may have something to do with your social media habits.

It’s hard not to feel inadequate or jealous when looking at photos of people whose lives seem “picture-perfect” all of the time. Also, social media can make you feel like you’ve been with friends, but you really haven’t connected to anyone. The “alone in a crowd” type feeling can make you feel more lonely than just hanging out by yourself. Research is showing a definitive link between spending time on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and a sense of loneliness and isolation.

Take a Social Media Detox

I encourage my clients to take a social media break every now and then, when they start feeling anxious or depressed in reaction to checking social media. It helps to gain a more positive sense of reality. They often report back to me that the detox offered some amazing and unexpected benefits such as:

Improved Self-Esteem

When you take a break from comparing yourself to other people, you can start to look at how great you and your own life really are. You can focus on what you have, not what you don’t.

New Interests and Hobbies

When you spend less time trying to get that social approval from of ‘likes’, ‘retweets’, and ‘upvotes’, you suddenly find you have a lot of time on your hands for other things. Most people realize that feedback from things in the real world is much more satisfying than “perceived popularity” in cyberspace.

Improves Your Mood

More time really visiting one-to-one or in small groups helps us feel more grounded and connected to people. This can drastically improve our mood and sense of well-being. Reach out to a friend and schedule a call or get together to help boost your mood!

Better Sleep

Many people are on their mobile phone in bed, checking their social media accounts. The blue light from these devices disrupts our sleep patterns and our emotional reactions can also get us riled up. Try giving yourself an hour or two before bed to wind down with no devices. Try reading a book or watching a show on a TV across the room to avoid the blue light interference.

Able to Enjoy the Moment More

Try using those extra few minutes to try daily mindfulness. By being present in our lives, we feel an increased sense of peace and joy. That’s priceless.

So, how do you perform a social media detox?

Follow these 4 steps:

  1. Temporarily deactivate your accounts. Don’t worry, you can reactivate them again in the future should you choose.
  2. Remove all Social Media Apps and notification pathways from your devices.
  3. Use a web filtering tool to block social media sites. (Why tempt yourself?)
  4. Be prepared for some withdrawal symptoms and have other activities ready to replace the void.

If you are having difficulty letting go or notice that your anxiety and depression are worse than you realized, therapy can help. Call me today to schedule a free consultation.

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