This day in age, it seems that almost everyone uses some form of social media. In fact, more than half of the US population has a Facebook account, with people from every demographic using it. Have you ever wondered what these social networks are doing to your mind? Are they having any effect at all? Some may not be phased by social media, in terms of their mental health, while for others, social media may play a huge factor. Here is a little bit of information about how social media use can affect your mental health.
Social media allows you to share, like and comment on posts made by your friends. But what if you don’t get any shares, likes or comments? This can cause some to second guess their decision to post, or wonder why no one liked it. Although it may seem silly to some, when others don’t receive any “likes,” they can begin to worry and get anxious.
Social media can also cause anxiety for social reasons. Back when there was no social media, you had to rely on making plans with your friends, over the phone or in person. You couldn’t see what they were doing, where they were going, or who they were with constantly. Social media and mobile devices can be great for socializing because you can be constantly connected with your friends, but what happens when you aren’t invited to that party, or when your friends post pictures of a day at the beach without you? You may be familiar with the acronym FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. Social media can abilitate FOMO when you see that your friends are doing things without you, which can cause major anxiety.
Some may experience FOMO, due to social media, for other reasons. One may see that someone their same age seems to be succeeding quicker than they are, and that someone will wonder why they are not as successful as their friend. This too can cause major stress.
Social Media allows you to compare yourself to others
Going along with the idea that social media can cause anxiety, it’s easy to compare yourself to others on social media, especially when they’re constantly posting images and statuses about how great their lives are. If you are less social, dealing with weight issues, have a health issues, or are dealing with other problems, it can be hard. Especially when it seems like everyone else’s lives are so perfect on social media. The thing to remember is that people aren’t going to post the bad things, just the good. Keep whatever posts you see in perspective. Often times posts on social media can be an allusion that doesn’t always tell the whole story.
Lack of Sleep
While the two may not be directly related, there has been a correlation between lack of sleep and social media use. It is true that when you don’t get enough sleep, it can be detrimental to your mental health. It is important to keep track of your sleep habits, and to determine whether you think your social media use may play a part in it.
Enables addictive behavior
It is not uncommon for a person to be on social media for hours a day or multiple times a day. It is also not uncommon for someone to find themselves turning to their phones and entering a social media app, without even thinking. Many can’t go a week, a day, or even an hour, without checking their social media accounts. While you may think you have your social media use under control, these can be considered addictive habits.
A sense of anonymity
When people post to social media, there can be a sense of anonymity. Even though your name (or username in some cases) is visible when you post, you may feel like you can say more because you are not actually face-to-face with that person. This can enable cyberbulling; bullying of any kind is not good for mental health.
While social media can be good for many things, including socialization, it is a good idea to be aware of the implications it could have on your mental health. These things won’t happen to everyone, but if you see your mental health start to deteriorate, due to social media, it is probably time to unplug. If you are experiencing any of these implications and would like further help, make an appointment with Corner Canyon Counseling!