Global society is becoming more aware of mental health issues by the day. We talk about it more. We feel a little less stigma towards the topic, but despite that progress, many people still struggle. In recent years, it has become apparent that technology is playing a major role in mental health, and we all ask the same question: How does social media affect mental health?
It’s easy to simply say that social media is bad, but a scientific approach requires we take the time to provide a thorough analysis. In reality, social media can have good and bad impacts on mental health.
There are unquestionably positive aspects of social media. The phenomenon has become a staple in most of our lives for a reason. In fact, there are several reasons why. You can safely and reliably use social media to your own benefit, provided you grasp the pros and cons.
It’s pretty simple. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram make it a lot easier to keep in touch with people you care about, especially if they don’t live near you. When face-to-face interaction isn’t possible, keeping up with people on social media is good for you. It helps you stay connected with those you love. Social media can also help supplement physical interactions. Have you ever organized or been invited to an event via social media? That’s a good thing because it helps you get the in-person social connection that is important to mental health. Used as a supplement for traditional communication, social media can help you thrive.
Social media can be an amazing way to meet new people. There is a good chance that friends of your friends are people you can relate to and connect with. Social media helps create those connections to help people make new friends. It can help with professional networking too. Both of these opportunities social media provides can do wonders for anyone’s mental health.
Social media continues to evolve, and platforms like TikTok and YouTube are on a long list of ways social media can provide a creative outlet. They don’t meet all niche needs, but if you can use social media to complete projects that matter to you, that’s a good thing. These creative outlets allow you to fuel your artistic side, which might otherwise go underserved. It’s clear to see how this can benefit mental health.
When used in positive ways, social media can very much be a good thing, but as we all know, there are downsides. In most cases, social media is a problem when it replaces more valuable, in-person contacts. It can also be a problem when it occupies too much of your attention and energy. These specific cons highlight how social media can create negative situations.
Feelings of Inadequacy
We all know that people only present the best of themselves on social media. Despite that, we all fall into this trap sometimes. The people in your circles are not living a life of endless vacation and adventure. Instead, they want to share the rare experiences that seem most worth sharing. Unfortunately, many social media streams appear as an endless cycle of people doing and experiencing more than you, and it’s easy to feel inadequate. These feelings can lead to a downward cycle that does not end in a good place. One of the best remedies is to spend less time on social media. It’s also important to remember that you are seeing nonstop exciting news because it is spread across a large group of people. You don’t need to match the excitement of every single person you know. In fact, doing so would be unhealthy.
This is probably the most common issue with social media. Even though it’s supposed to keep us connected, it’s easy to substitute in-person interaction with virtual communication. That’s where social media becomes a major problem. When you use it to meet people or keep in touch with the ones you can’t see often, it’s a great boon to your social activity. When it replaces in-person interactions in general, you don’t get the hormonal benefit of social connection. You end up being isolated in your home thinking about connections more than actually experiencing them.
Depression and Anxiety
These issues are the ultimate results of the negative impacts of social media. Harming a healthy social interaction cycle can easily lead to depression or anxiety. Feelings of inadequacy, isolation, arguments with strangers on the internet, and all the rest of it can result in real mental health issues.
If you’re struggling with chronic depression and/or anxiety, Prime Behavioral Health can help. Contact us today to learn about our psychiatry services and to learn if TMS therapy might be a good addition to your mental wellness routine.