Photo or it didn’t happen? Today, if your life isn’t posted online, it can feel like it’s not even happening. As our obsession with social media increases, so do our levels of self-esteem problems and anxiety. But it’s possible to break the cycle of negative social media use and logging in a way that doesn’t affect our mental health. We spoke to 3 experts about how you can successfully merge social and mental health.
What effect can social media have on our mental health?
Deep in our minds, we know that social media doesn’t show real life. We know constantly styled photos, quirky captions, and coveted likes don’t help our self-esteem, anxiety or depression. However, we still play the game. In fact, all of our experts agree that social media can have negative effects on our mental health if not used correctly.
“Social media use can affect our self-esteem as we are bombarded with images of perfection and keeping up with the Joneses,” the psychologist says. Stephanie Lau.
According to a consultant psychotherapist Dr. Karen Phillips Excessive social media use is associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. While the clinical psychologist Renee Mill have seen negative effects in young people, especially:
“Above all, young people need social approval and seeing others who they perceive to have a ‘better life’ is upsetting to them. Comparing the number of likes you get to her is a dismay. How attractive is being shown by others [is] can feel terrible. I’ve heard stories where young girls now take the “paper test” – they take an A4 sheet of paper, hold it up and use it to determine how narrow their waists are.
In my practice, I often hear clients tell me how jealous, depressed, and sad they feel when they see other people’s success. That’s their face. Rising rates of anxiety and depression may be a result of social media, and while it’s difficult to find a statistically direct link, it intuitively makes sense that being Successful attacks can make people feel inferior and inadequate. “
But not all is doom and gloom. There are positive effects on social networking such as the ability to connect with people around the world. Like Dr. Karen note, studies have shown a healthy amount of social media use can help relieve loneliness or support people with chronic illnesses:
“Connecting with family who live far away or those looking to connect with like-minded people in specifically targeted groups can be beneficial. Social media can also be helpful for people with health conditions to know that they are not alone and can connect with others who have been through a similar condition. “
For the most part, social media carries a lot of risk. Becoming too obsessed with our online world leads to dissatisfaction and worst of all depression in our real lives. So what can you do to make sure your social media usage is healthy?
How can we take better care of our mental health?
The key to keeping your social media under control seems to be balancing the time spent online and offline. Here are 5 ways you can protect your mental health without cutting social media out of your life.
1: Day off
Dr. Karen suggest a social media day off here and there to stay healthy.
“A social media-free day or two per week is ideal, however if that’s not possible, an hour or two a day checking and posting is enough time for it not to take over a user’s life. Socializing with family and friends, chatting, personal interactions, playing sports, all help us maintain a balanced life and positive mental health. “
MyDeal Pro Tips:
How to spend an afternoon offline
It’s as simple as doing an activity for its pure pleasure (and not having to post later). You can try:
– Play with your pet
– Cook something great
– Dirt the garden
– Or end up hanging those family photos around your house
Everything you need and more for an offline afternoon awaits in the home and garden of MyDeal.
2: Set yourself a time limit
Renee Mill really recommend setting a daily limit on your social media usage to keep it from getting out of hand.
“It’s all about balance. Just like partying every night until 3 am and expecting the next day to go to work and do well, constantly updating information, needing to comment or like, need to post and need to be gorgeous is not healthy. . I recommend booking a few times a day when you can check your social networks for up to fifteen minutes. Then spend up to an hour going through it all in detail, working through your posts and responding. Then log out. Be in the moment you are doing (like attending a therapy session). This is called having the mind.”
3: Don’t forget ‘just 5 more minutes…’
Stephanie Lau suggest using apps to prevent yourself from falling into a social media hole and telling yourself you’ll be out in just 5 minutes.
“Moderate your social media consumption by setting specific limits and time frames. For example, set clear goals and make sure you don’t lose track of why you’re logged in to your computer or monitor because it’s easy to lose browsing. Use technology to track your time, including apps or statistics to gauge how much time you spend on each social media account or phone app – they can also be ways useful for tracking technology and social media usage”.
4: Express your negative thoughts
No matter how hard we try, negative thoughts can creep in at times. Pushing them into the back of your mind won’t help you deal with them. But have a strong support network of friends, family, and maybe even professional help. You can choose to vent to a friend on the couch or make an appointment with a psychologist. Either way, finding a safe environment where you can voice your worries, no matter how small, means you can get over them.
5: Find positive uses for your society
There’s a difference between turning to social media for inspiration and comparison. Indulging in seemingly perfect lives and wishing I could imitate them is comparison. Look into your life for things you want to improve, and use social media for ideas for inspiration. Use it to your advantage when you have a new project and enjoy one of the benefits of social media. For example, it’s full of great ideas for redesigning a gorgeous bedroom that’s the perfect place to relax away from the Internet.
Or join active social media movements and hashtags. Keep your good thoughts in mind by looking for hashtags and accounts dedicated to promoting good feelings. If you want to empower women, try #real women, #sensitive people or #effyourbeautystandards. Want complete happiness? See #positivethoughts and #positivevibes.
At the end of the day, social media is whatever you create. While we all feel guilty at times for falling prey to unrealistic expectations, we can all do something to change our habits.
Special thanks to our experts who contributed to this article. If you want to see more from any of our experts, you can find their details here:
Dr. Karen Phillips is a consultant psychotherapist, clinical hypnotherapist and often cited in the media as an expert on relationships and parenting. Check out her website or Instagram.
Stephanie Lau is a Registered Psychologist whose work focuses on facilitating happiness and preventing negative psychosis. Check out her website or Instagram.
Renee Mill is a clinical psychologist, parenting and anxiety specialist as well as a renowned author. Check out her website or Facebook.