Social Media & Your Mental Health
You see, your Mental health is just as important as the meal you took a few hours ago. Consequently, it affects how you handle stress, feel, eat, relate to others, and make choices. According to WHO, more than 450 million people suffer from bad mental health and soon enough, depression will be the second-largest disease burden worldwide behind infectious and parasitic diseases.
Bad mental health is almost as equal to a continuous state of depression.
From the statistics alone, it’s clear that social media has become an integral (and to a large extent, unavoidable) part of our lives.
In this context, my drive is how social media can have continuous detrimental effects on your mental health. As you may know, the usage has good and bad consequences. Exceptionally, social media plays a crucial role in helping us increase our visibility, stay connected, and be in touch.
Contradictory to this, several researching has yielded some intense connection between heavy social media use and depression, loneliness, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, narcissism, envy, paranoia, and agitation which all stimulates bad mental health.
With all these listed consequences, oh yes! you couldn't agree better that social media has a stand on your mental health.
Let’s dive into the ways which social media affects your mental health without you being aware of it.
Self Esteem & Inferiority complex
Most times, what people crave for when they post on social media is the likes and views. Some people tend to compare themselves to other people when they see the numerous interactions and followers which other people have on social media.
You see, likes and comments are more like validations. The more you get them the better you feel, oh yeah! When this continuously happens you tend to place other peoples opinions over yours. Letting other people determine how much you worth is a guaranteed way to destroy your self-confidence. Thereby, you lower your self-esteem.
You begin to feel you don’t measure up to standard, then you start seeking so much attention on social media. You also tend to be very sensitive to criticism and you start putting on an act of perfectionism which is impossible. With these bad acts, your inferiority complex is fully justified. Always have it at the back of your mind that your perception about yourself is worth more than anyone else’s.
Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)
In simple terms, this means the possession of anxiety whereby an exciting event is happening elsewhere without one being there and then leads to extreme dissatisfaction. FOMO coerces you to constantly check your phone, endlessly scrolling through your newsfeed, constantly checking your likes and comments, and makes you feel lost without your phone.
On the long-run, FOMO makes you feel you’re not up to social standards. It makes you keep checking your phone every minute, even while driving or makes you miss your sleep. That unsatisfied feeling affects your mental health and drastically derails it.
About 37% of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have been bullied online. 30% have had it happen more than once. Young people are usually the main victims of cyberbullying, but adults are not left out of the equation.
A few months ago, there was a viral trend of anonymous messages on the internet whereby people send messages without having to trace the sender. You’d see people sending obnoxious, vile, and violent messages to other people.
This was extremely terrifying because if got to see the way the victims were reacting, you’d really feel for them. It has become increasingly common on social networks, especially among young people. Cyberbullying is very detrimental to one’s mental health which leads to intimidation, emotional damage, and suicide.
I’m sure you took your rectangular-shaped screen with you to bed last night and kept strolling through your favourite social network’s newsfeed before you passed out. Social media usage around bedtime will negatively affect how long and how well you sleep.
Try to limit (or stop) social media use a few moments before bedtime, in order to allow your mind to settle and prepare for a good sleep. Social media can also reduce the amount of time you sleep, thereby leaving you feeling unrefreshed the next day. Poor sleeping habits also affects your mental health because they’re closely connected and continuously giving mental problems like sleeping disorders and Insomnia.
Social media can be fun to look back on memories and recounting how past experiences have occurred.
Moreover, this may distort the way you recall those bits and pieces of your life.
A glimpse of my personal story — I remember when I went through my Facebook profile lately. Seeing my post from 2-4 years I felt kind of misshapened. Those posts were like memories but you know one always has good and bad ones. Anyways I began to delete those posts.
Till now, if Facebook notifies me of any memory or a post I was tagged in, I’ll always untag myself or delete the post if I feel it will be vulnerable to my mental health.
P.S I was formally a hard user of Facebook before I quit the app months ago.
Sometimes I'll just wake up in the morning and open my Twitter feed like it's a newspaper "Lol", forgive my shorthand. Most times, Some of us would wake up and start pressing our phone without checking if we can even talk. Haha.
Nothing should ever interfere with the balance of your mental health, not even social media.