Social Media & Your Mental Health

It’s been a whirlwind of two years due to the pandemic - leaving us all more susceptible to loneliness and isolation from having to stay in quarantine or transitioning to working from home full-time. Dealing with the loss of family members or friends due to the virus can add to this despair even more.

Feeling depressed, anxious, and stressed can create health problems that we may have never had to experience before. We can develop high blood pressure or even become diagnosed with a mental health condition.

Because there became a huge hole for social interaction, our society began tuning into social media more to feed these needs. In short, this solution made the pandemic a little more bearable.

We could watch hilarious TikTok videos, challenge each other to workouts or dances we saw online, or Facebook Messenger chat our loved ones. But as we increased the time spent on our phones, looking at and comparing other people’s lives to ours, the time we spent doing things we used to enjoy decreased. Activities like reading, painting, or going to the gym started being replaced with more screen time.

So what is the toll of too much social media on our mental health, really?

Here are the negative health effects of pursuing this habit without boundaries:

  • Increased loneliness - social media is only a substitute for real interactions and connection, so if a person only spends time and energy nurturing online relationships, they may still end up feeling empty at the end of the day
  • Anxiety and depression - turning to a feed and scrolling through images and videos offers a comforting sense of short-term relief from anxiety, creating increased anxiety in the long-term because the underlying anxious feelings are never dealt with
  • Low self-esteem and body image issues - there are many apps and photo editing tools nowadays that can completely change how someone looks in a photo (but most people believe the photo is real as is!) so this results in unrealistic standards, unhealthy comparison, and low self-confidence
  • Sleep problems - exposing yourself to excessive amounts of blue light is not good for your health, and can cause insomnia, disrupted sleep patterns, and disproportional melatonin production

Because social media can get addicting quite easily, here are a few simple tips from Grouport that you can use to manage your social media use and protect your mental health.

Rearrange your content preferences

Sick of seeing stick-thin supermodels? Political propaganda? People easily forget that they control the content they see. You can simply click the unfollow button immediately after feeling that sense of dread, envy, or anger from seeing a piece of unfavorable content. Take it one step further by seeking out positive accounts for meditation, therapy, inspiration, and motivation. Follow those accounts - and soon you’ll be getting high-quality information that’s uplifting, versus triggering content that can make you feel depressed.

Set a time limit

If you need to step away from your desk for a little break, consider setting a timer on your phone for how long you can sit on the couch, scrolling through Instagram. Two 15-minute breaks a day can give you that social media fix without distracting you from getting things done.

You can even try making it a rule to not go on social media until the workday is over. Give yourself the freedom to scroll, laugh, and comment only within the time window of 6-8 pm and then put your phone away again and prepare for bed. Try reading before lights out, or taking a long, hot shower to unwind from the day.

Try finding a group of supportive peers

Let’s say time limits and curated feeds aren’t helping, and you’ve admittedly noticed that you are experiencing anxiety and depression on a daily basis with little to no relief. It might be time to seek out counseling or treatment for improved mental health.

But because in-person, individual therapy can be expensive and demanding on your schedule, online group therapy sessions have become widely available during the pandemic. Grouport, for example, hosts weekly sessions online for 60 minutes - where an individual is matched with a group of people who are experiencing the same issues (OCD, Depression, PTSD, and more).

It can be cathartic and eye opening to meet regularly with a group of your peers to discuss similar struggles and learn from each other. Grouport makes it easy for you to find the right place for you.

Click here to browse our full list of groups!

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