How Social Media Can Impact Your Mental Health
How Social Media Can Impact Your Mental Health
Social media networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok and Linkedin have become part of everyday life for many of us. Having social media at our fingertips has transformed how many of us communicate. During the pandemic, it was a way for us all to feel more connected.
Social media can give a platform to express yourself, to have a voice and can be a powerful tool for many of us to communicate our views and interests.
Statistics show that approximately 50% of the population use social media worldwide. Some research suggests that the use of social media may be affecting our well-being and mental health. Excessive use of social media (more than 3 hours a day) has been attributed to creating feelings of isolation, dissatisfaction, inadequacy and can negatively impact your mood exacerbating symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Signs and Symptoms (how to spot it / what does it feel like)
It is important to be aware of how social media may impact you. Reflecting on your use can help you to weigh up the benefits and the cost of using social media. Research has found that socially insecure and anxious people are more likely to use social media than those who are less anxious and socially secure. Many studies have been done on the pros and cons of social media and here are some of the findings.
The Positive Impact of Social Media may include:
• Social media may promote, preserve and sometimes revive our relationships
• It can positively impact your mood
• Social media can help some people gain social skills
• It can be a useful tool for introverts to express themselves from the safety behind a computer screen
• It promotes social connection which is a basic human need
• It promotes interaction and discussion
The Negative Impact of Social Media may include:
• Social media can become an addiction
• It can promote social comparison which may lead to feelings of inadequacy
• It can promote isolation
• Social media can provide a platform for cyberbullying
• It can have a negative impact on the way we perceive the world
• It can have a direct impact on our behaviour
• It can negatively impact how we see ourselves
• Social media may promote restlessness as it has been reported that some people find it difficult to relax when they are not connected
• Social media can have a direct negative impact on your mood
• It can make it difficult to differentiate between reality and fantasy
• It can promote the fear of missing out as we can see what everyone else is doing
• Social skills can be affected if social media is relied upon too much
• Active listening skills can be affected
• It can make you feel disconnected
• Social media can promote oversharing which may make you feel vulnerable or exposed
• Social media is a distraction. This promotes multi-tasking instead of giving your focus to just one thing
• It can affect the ability to develop empathy
• Miscommunication can occur through sending messages
• You do not see the impact of your messages therefore, you may not always be aware of how you impact others
• Social media can feed into negative body image
• It may cause anxiety
• It can negatively impact your rest and sleep
Social media does have its benefits and drawbacks. It is down to each individual to assess if they are using social media responsibly and whether it enhances their well-being.
If you feel you are being negatively affected by your use of social media you may want to talk to a professional counsellor to help you manage how you are feeling. Talking therapies can help you to identify how social media impacts you and can help you find ways of minimising this negative impact. Social media can impact your mental health in several ways. It may affect how you feel about yourself, your confidence, self-esteem, body image and anxiety levels. It may have become an addiction that you feel you are struggling to manage. If you feel like you need support get in touch with one of our counsellors today. We have a team of highly experienced counsellors who will offer you a safe and confidential space to support and work with you through your issues.
By Helen Rutherford MBACP Accred
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