Many kinds of research have been undertaken to support the hypothesis that excessive social media use is linked to harmful mental health outcomes such as sadness and anxiety.So, let’s talk about the monster under the bed… eh, I mean, social media and its impact on our mental health. Yes, we all love scrolling through our feeds and checking notifications, and you probably know that excessive use of social media can lead to sadness and anxiety? Don’t worry, I’m not here to scare you – I’m here to tell you more about the effect social media has on each of us and share some hilarious, oops, I mean helpful tips on how to limit your social media use and improve your mental health.
According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, limiting social media use to 30 minutes per day for three weeks resulted in substantial decreases in symptoms of loneliness and sadness among college students.
Another study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in 2017, discovered that spending more than two hours per day on social media was connected with higher anxiety and depression symptoms in teenagers.
According to a 2019 analysis of 20 research on social media usage and mental health outcomes published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, excessive using social networks can also lead to feelings of isolation, FOMO (fear of missing out), and low self-esteem. This is due to the addictive nature of social media, which is designed to keep users engaged for as long as possible. The constant stream of comparison and competition that social media creates also contributes to negative mental health outcomes.
Now, let’s talk about hormones. Yeah, I know, it’s not the sexiest topic, but it’s important. These are one of the most important actors in our well-being. Social media has been demonstrated to influence dopamine release in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter connected with pleasure and reward, and it is important in controlling our mood, motivation, and behavior. Social media sites are meant to keep users interested and coming back for more, which might cause dopamine release in the brain. This may lead to an addictive loop in which we want more and more validation and attention from social media platforms, leading to feelings of poor self-esteem and worry when we do not obtain the desired response.
The usage of likes, comments, and shares on social media can influence dopamine release. When we get good feedback on our social media postings, such as likes or comments, our brain produces dopamine, which causes us to feel pleasure and reward. This might motivate us to keep sharing and seeking validation from social media, resulting in an ongoing demand for attention and input. When we do not receive good comments on our postings, our brain may produce less dopamine, resulting in emotions of disappointment, irritation, and even sadness. Notifications and alerts are another way that social media influences dopamine release. When we get social media site alerts, our brain produces dopamine, which causes sensations of pleasure and anticipation. This may drive us to check our social media accounts more regularly and remain connected to these sites, even if it is not in our best interests.
The detrimental impacts of social media on mental health have been well-documented in research studies, and the answer is frequently straightforward: restrict social media use and take regular breaks. While it may be tough to ignore social media entirely in today’s technologically driven society, our mental health may be greatly impacted by reducing the amount of time we spend browsing through feeds and checking notifications.
Setting specified times of day when social media is permitted and adhering to those hours is one method of limiting social media use. For example, you might check social media for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening, and then ignore it for the rest of the day. We may free up time to focus on other things that offer us joy and fulfillment by setting limits on our usage of social media.
In addition to restricting social media usage, it is critical to prioritize good interactions and relationships on these sites. We may use social media to interact with people in meaningful ways rather than seeking affirmation or attention. This might include joining clubs or communities that share our interests, reaching out to friends and family, or interacting with uplifting and inspirational information.
It’s also crucial to remember that social media is only a small portion of our life and should not be allowed to completely absorb us. We may prioritize other elements of our life by placing restrictions on our social media use, such as spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, or engaging in self-care activities.
Ultimately, getting help from friends, family members, or mental health experts can be a vital step in addressing social media’s harmful impacts on mental health. It’s necessary that you get therapy and assistance if your use of social media has caused you to experience anxiety, depression, or other mental health difficulties. A mental health expert can assist you in developing coping strategies.
While it may be difficult to avoid social media entirely in our technologically advanced culture, there are techniques to restrict our usage and prioritize our well-being. Establishing particular times of day for social media usage, joining organizations or clubs that share our interests, and connecting with uplifting material are all excellent ways to limit our social media use and improve our mental health. Social media is a necessary evil in today’s world, but it doesn’t have to consume our lives. By limiting our usage and focusing on positive interactions and relationships, we can improve our mental health and avoid the pitfalls of social media addiction. So put down your phones, people, and go enjoy the real world!
Featured image from https://in.mashable.com/science/2616/notifications-and-dopamine-weird-ways-in-which-instagram-likes-lead-to-happiness