In today’s digital age of constant connectivity and instant communication, it has never been easier to stay in touch with friends and family around the globe and to access and share a wide variety of multimedia content, including videos, photos, and more through social media platforms.
While social media can be a positive tool it is important to recognise that excessive or unhealthy usage can negatively affect your mental health. Studies conducted in this area have found connections between social media and the aggravation of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, self-harm, loneliness, and suicidal thoughts.
In this article, we will shed light on some of the ways social media could be affecting your mental health and provide tips to help you cultivate healthier social media habits.
Limit Your Usage
Excessive use of social media can be harmful to your mental wellbeing. It can be easy to become consumed with the constant barrage of posts, images, and videos that flood your timelines and newsfeeds, taking your attention away from more productive activities.
This can contribute to addictive behaviours, such as the need to constantly check your social media due to the fear of missing out commonly known as ‘FOMO’.
To help you curb this habit, consider switching your notifications off and limiting your social media usage each day.
A study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that people who limit their daily social media usage to less than 30 minutes report a significant improvement in their well-being.
Social media is rife with images of idealised body images, lifestyles, and standards of beauty that can be difficult, if not impossible to aspire to.
This can add to the pressure of perfection that many people have when scrolling through such content leading to comparison and feelings of inadequacy.
It is important to remember that social media content often portrays an unrealistic version of reality through highly curated images, filters, and other gimmicks to present the appearance of perfection, success, and ultimate happiness.
By maintaining a critical eye when viewing social media content, you will be better equipped to see through the facade, enabling you to preserve a healthy self-image and safeguard your mental well-being.
Take Control of Your Experience
Rather than letting social media dictate what content you see, take control of your experience by carefully curating your newsfeed and timelines to choose content that aligns with your interests, values, and mental well-being.
If you are seeing content that troubles or upsets you, know that you have the choice to unfollow or mute it, rather than continue to subject yourself to it.
By empowering yourself in this way, you can decide what role social media plays in your life, fostering a more positive and healthy online experience.
Seek Support if Needed
It is important to recognise the impact social media platforms can have on your mental well-being and to seek support if needed.
A mental health therapist can help you to navigate the challenges of social media by developing effective coping strategies, building your self-image, and establishing healthy boundaries so you can take a more balanced approach to your social media consumption.
By following these tips you can safeguard your mental wellbeing while enjoying the benefits social media has to offer.