In the last few years, people have started to realize just how important it is to manage your mental health properly. Increased awareness and reduced stigma around mental health problems mean that more people are speaking up and it has become clear that there are a lot of people out there that are struggling. When it comes to improving our mental health, we are often told that it’s a good idea to cut down on social media. There has been a lot of debate recently about how social media impacts people’s mental health and whether people should use it, especially younger people. But how much truth is there to the idea that social media is bad for your mental health and how can it affect us?
Self Esteem Issues
The biggest problem with social media is that it can lead to a lot of self esteem issues and they can quickly develop into mental health conditions like depression. When people post on social media, they’re only showing the positive aspects of their lives. If you’re scrolling through and seeing all of these posts about people’s successes and all of the fun things that they are doing, it’s easy to start comparing yourself to them and thinking that your life isn’t as good as theirs and you aren’t as successful as them. In reality, they have the same problems as you do and everything isn’t perfect, but a lot of people don’t see it that way and it leads to self esteem issues.
Body confidence is a very big part of these self esteem problems caused by social media. We are constantly bombarded with photoshopped and staged images of people that promote a very unrealistic body standard. When people compare themselves to these pictures, it can make them feel bad about the way they look. In extreme cases, this body image issue manifests itself through anorexia or bulimia nervosa and people adopt dangerous eating practices. Avoiding these self esteem issues is tough and it’s important that you understand social media for what it is and don’t compare yourself to the posts that you see.
Lack Of Human Connection
Connecting with other people and having a full social life is very important if you want to maintain good mental health. But a lot of people are spending more time interacting over social media than they are in real life. While they are still socializing in a sense, those interactions are not as valuable as face to face ones and they are not a good substitute. Some people also have a sense of missing out when they see friends posting about things that they have done, and it can increase feelings of loneliness.
Lack of sleep is often linked to mental health problems, both as a symptom and a cause. Social media has a big role to play here because people often use their phones right before they go to sleep to check it. That’s bad news because the light from your phone keeps your brain active and makes it a lot harder to sleep, so it can make mental health problems a lot worse.
Using social media sometimes isn’t going to cause mental health issues but if you are constantly glued to it and you don’t understand it for what it is, it could make the symptoms a lot worse.