Social media can be a powerful tool for connecting with others and sharing information, but it can also have a significant impact on our mental health. Studies have shown that spending too much time online can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and social isolation. Social media often creates unrealistic expectations about life and relationships. Additionally, many people often post only the highlights of their lives on social media, which can make others feel like they are not achieving or doing as much as everyone else online.
However we choose to engage with social media, it is important that we remain mindful of how it affects us individually. By being aware of its influence on our mental well-being and taking steps to manage its impact on us, we can reap the many benefits that technology has to offer while also protecting ourselves from its potential dangers. After all, technology may shape our world in so many ways; but as individuals we always have the choice as to how much control we want over our own lives. Social media has become a pervasive part of our daily lives, and there is mounting evidence that it can impact our mental health in various ways. Mental health awareness month is celebrated in May every year, to raise awareness about it. With Mental health awareness month 2022 around the corner, Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Chandni Tugnait is M.D. (Alternative Medicines), Psychotherapist, Life Coach, Business Coach, NLP Expert, Healer, Founder & Director - Gateway of Healing, with centres in Gurgaon and Faridabad, to know about the ways through which social media impacts mental health.
Ways through which social media affects mental health
Some ways in which social media can impact your mental health are as follows:
1. Social media is a constant source of comparison
When we see other people’s lives on social media, it can make us feel inadequate or like our lives aren’t as interesting or exciting as those of others. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, body shaming and low self-esteem.
2. Overwhelming information
Social media gives us access to an overwhelming amount of information at all times. This creates a sense of perpetual urgency, making it difficult for us to focus on anything for long periods of time, leading to feelings of stress and frustration.
3. Constantly available
The constant stream of notifications from various social media platforms keeps us constantly connected and available. The updates on social networks creates pressure to always be "on" and keep up with what's happening, which can affect our sleep cycles and contribute to feelings of exhaustion and irritability.
Social media can be a breeding ground for cyberbullying and other negative interactions. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation.
Social media can be addictive, leading us to spend hours scrolling through our feeds instead of engaging in face-to-face interactions or participating in activities that we enjoy. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and disconnection.
There are, however, ways that we can mitigate the negative impacts of social media on our mental health. For example, we can limit our time spent online and avoid comparing ourselves to others' portrayals of their lives on social networks. We can also be mindful about how and when we use social media – for example, limiting screen time in bed or avoiding checking our feeds first thing in the morning or last thing at night. And it is important to take breaks from technology every day so that we do not become too entrenched in constantly updating our profiles or feeling the pressure to always "be connected".
Ultimately, while there are some risks associated with social media's impact on mental health, we can take steps to minimize them. By being aware of the potential dangers and taking measures to protect ourselves, we can continue to enjoy the many benefits that social media has to offer.
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