It's not unusual to have a love-hate relationship with social media. There's nothing quite as satisfying as putting your feet up after a long day and catching up with your virtual world. In the same breath, there's little as distressing your mental health as having your self-worth undermined or anxiety skyrocket because of the content that you come across.
Before we lock all of the phones away and shun the potentially useful platforms, it’s important to know the facts. As well as become familiar with how to protect yourself (and your loved ones) from the negative effects on mental health.
Impact of social media
There are some indicators that can help you determine the impact of social media on your life. Each of them could contribute to the development of depression.
Perceived Social Isolation
Research has shown an association in the number of hours spent using social media with the perception of social isolation (PSI). When people spend more time in the world of virtual reality it is possible that they forget to interact with real-world interactions.
With an ever-increasing number of beautiful people living in a perfect world, it's easy to engage in the game of comparison. Many don't know that these photos are carefully curated and the benchmark to be successful is unreasonably high.
Less Physical Activity
If social media is turned into an obsession, it could cause a person to be distracted from different physical exercises. It also reduces the release of the endorphins that result from regular activities. Dopamine is released as an alert. This dependency isn't safe or reliable.
Social media platforms aren't just addicting, but they can also be distracting. The constant urge to interact in a conversation, like, or consume information could distract you from more important things like studying.
Studies have shown that as high as 60% of teens and young adults utilize their screens before going to bed. This could have an adverse effect on their ability to fall asleep due to lighting in the dark and the flood of information. Sleep deprivation is among the most significant causes of depression.
Ways to protect your mental health from social media danger
1. Spend Less Time Online
It's more difficult to do when using your phone becomes an automatic process. There are numerous apps to assist you in keeping track of how much time you are spending on social media, thus creating accountability.
You may also opt to shut off your mobile at a specific time of the day. Do not bring it to the table for dinner or bed. You can also turn off notifications from social media.
2. Use Social Media Intentionally
When you next get your phone out and browse Instagram consider asking yourself what you are doing there. If you answer with boredom or habit, then you might be looking to switch your attention.
Social media is not without its positive aspects, however, the benefits of social media are drowned out by the negatives once social media is a chore. This is particularly true when you feel insecure when you leave the site.
3. Connect More With Friends Offline
Social media is an excellent way to meet new people However, the importance of a real-life relationship is incomparable. Making time with friends and family offline and away from smartphones can be a boon for your mental health.
In COVID-19 or social distancing, this could be a bit challenging. In this scenario, video calls with a friend or loved one may be more beneficial than scrolling in a mindless manner.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Utilizing social media can detach users from their presence and the mental benefits of having the ability to be present. Small, conscious changes could help break the bonds that social media imposes.
The practice of mindfulness, time to reflect, and being grateful are practices that add significance and value to your daily life.
5. Encourage Communication
If you are a parent or family member or friend who has symptoms of depressive symptoms or an addiction to social networks, you can help encourage conversations and honesty. Check the amount of time they spend on social networks and start introducing the routine of "social media" breaks.
Engage in discussions about the fundamental problems of social media. engage in honest discussions about how social media may alter the notion of what's real.
6. Set App Limits
Given that it's unlikely to be able to stop using social media entirely, setting time limits for your phone could be beneficial.
With iOS 12 and higher on your iPhone, it is possible to keep track of and monitor how much time you are spending on your smartphone as well as on social media platforms.
7. Turn off Notifications or Set "Bedtimes"
Have you ever heard that you could program a timer for your bed via your mobile device?
You can put an end to the late-night notifications and continual pings by setting the timer to "bedtime" -- all your notifications will be turned off until the following morning.
On the iPhone, you can enable this under the Clock setting. It's like Do Not Disturb, but notifications will not show up on the lock screen. Therefore, there's no reason to respond to DM or launch an application.
8. Unfollow Accounts That Don't Make You Feel Good
If you're comparing your body shape, home, or even your lifestyle to the perfect Instagram influencers but it's not making you feel happy, stop following them.
Be sure that the brands and people that you are following on Instagram are in line to what you value most and that you're gaining satisfaction or benefit from their following.
9. Follow Inspiring Accounts That Make You Feel Good.
Remember that you are in charge of your account feed! Similar to how you can de-follow any account which makes you feel uneasy it's essential to include accounts that feel good also.
You can follow funny memes inspirational speakers, beautiful travel accounts, or accounts that provide you with inspiring quotes.
10. Prioritize Self-Care
You think self-care is a trendy buzzword? You're wrong!
Self-care refers to making sure that you are taking care of every aspect of your health to make sure you're strong enough to take on whatever life can throw at you.
It doesn't need to mean costly spa treatments or retreats with no internet it could be small acts of kindness towards yourself each day that will boost your mood.