We have an excuse to stay inside until the sun shines again thanks to the winter blues. Winter can make it difficult to stay warm and cozy in bed while browsing Facebook or TikTok and keeping up with friends and favourite celebrities. This isn’t always healthy. Here are 5 ways social media affects our mental health.
5. Social media gives you major FOMO feels
The fear of missing out is a constant problem in the social universe. One quickly gets the impression from scrolling through other people's posts that they've missed out on events, inside jokes, or new friendships.
FOMO is made even more painful if you observe friends or family members online engaging in activities without you. Being disappointed that you were excluded from a party or other event can make you feel miserable, lonely, and worst of all, depressed.
Observing all the wonderful things other people have in their lives can make you feel incredibly inadequate. You're not just skipping out on social gatherings or events. You might also think you're missing out on a better life.
4. Social media can trigger loneliness
The term "social media" suggests a gathering of friends, family, and acquaintances but it can also be the cause of the total opposite. Social media can have the habit of making people feel alone.
Studies show a link between increased social isolation and social media use. In one study, researchers kept an eye on 143 college students. One group of people regularly used social media, while the other was only allowed to use it for 30 minutes a day for a number of weeks. Those who controlled their use were less depressed and lonely.
Although there is an unquestionable correlation, the exact cause is not known. Perhaps lonely individuals use social sites more frequently. The time spent engaging in face-to-face interactions may be reduced as a result of social media use. Online connections can't take the place of real-life social interactions, shaking hands or meeting at a cafe for lunch. These real-life interactions are beneficial to overall health.
Canadians’ assessments of social media in their lives
The 2018 Canadian Internet Use Survey is used in this study to examine reports of the detrimental effects that people ages 15 to 64 have experienced as a result of using social networking websites or apps.
3. Filters - Fun but fake
Here we have positive and negative aspects of social media. This is best illustrated by filters. While filters are fun, the ease with which one can airbrush body parts, whiten teeth, and conceal flaws can lead to deceptive impressions.
It can feel impossible to live up to other people's lives when you frequently see their picture-perfect highlight reels, even though you are aware that posts are filtered and carefully chosen. Consider filters for what they are: a fun way to change how you appear online but nothing you need to recreate. Much like most social media, don’t take it too seriously.
2. It’s addictive
The same type of brain-tweak effects as playing slots is caused by social media websites and apps. Since you don't know what content you'll see until you open the app, the unexpected outcomes actually produce a sense of "reward" by releasing dopamine, the same chemical associated with other pleasurable activities like sex and food.
1. Messes with sleep
People who use social media, especially at night, according to 2019 research, have a tendency to:
Go to bed late
Have a poor quality sleep
Here comes the aforementioned FOMO peaking its evil head again. If you are concerned that you will miss something crucial, logging off may be difficult. However, this outlook is easily disruptive of sleep. When you really want to be winding down for the night, using social media may stimulate your brain. It might be much more difficult for you to fall asleep as a result.
In summary, electronic devices have become part of our daily lives, with many benefits such as convenience, connectivity, and access to information. However, excessive use of electronics can also have negative effects on mental health, including increased stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It's important to be aware of these potential risks and to take steps to manage our use of electronics in a healthy way. This can include setting limits on screen time, taking regular breaks, and using apps or tools to monitor and control our usage.
Additionally, it's important to maintain a balance in our lives by engaging in other activities, such as exercise, social interaction, and spending time outdoors. By being mindful of our electronic usage and making conscious choices, we can help to protect our mental health and well-being.