“How many likes am I going to get? How many followers increased on my Instagram today?” Welcome to the internal monologue of a typical social media user; the monologue you may not know is taking place. Let’s talk about the unintended consequences social media is having on your mental health.
The center for collegiate mental health has found out that the top three diagnoses are anxiety, depression and stress. And numerous studies have linked these with high social media use. About 90%of people between ages 18 to 29 are on social media and we spent around average of 2 to 3 hours there. And you know what; we don’t even eat for 2 hours a day.
Have you ever felt uncomfortable if you don’t use social media for a day or two? Later you slowly build yourself to be more comfortable towards the situation. But not having access to social media fills you up with anxiety at first. Doesn’t that sound like every drug we have heard of? When your social media use goes uncontrolled that’s when we see the rising levels of depression.
We struggle with insecurity when we compare our behind the scenes, our life and highlights with everyone else’s. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others. And yes comparing was happening even before social media. There are times when we compare ourselves with TV actors and celebrities but now with development of social media it’s happening all the time and is directly linked to you. Everything is competing for attention. And its value is attributed on the basis of likes, comments it gets. It would be great if we are selling cloth or makeup but here in social media we are the product. And we are letting others attribute value to us.
Am I going to waste my time saying you to spend less time on social media? No. I love social media. I like using it but that doesn’t mean we can’t practice safe internet. When we have inappropriate shows on TV, we don’t blame the TV itself, do we? So when you hear about dark side of social media it actually means the dark side of people. It isn’t twitter who writes hateful comments. It’s people. So this dark side is what we need to focus on. Now that you have recognized the problems be smart enough to audit what goes into your head and heart. Be brave enough to choose what you need to see and what not. Create a better online experience. Cut off the things that make you feel low or question your worth. Social media is a tool that can be used to create more positivity. Is social media hurting your mental health? The answer is: it doesn’t have to.