Effects of Social Media on Mental Health
We all have our ways to communicate with our friends and loved ones on Social Media via online. We can even access Social Media through our cell phones now. In this digital age, connecting with other people is literally at our fingertips and we use it for all sorts of stuff like information, communication, blogging, creative self-expression, the sky is the limit for what we can do with Social Media.
For more than a few decades now, social media has provided people with a way to contact each other no matter where they are in the world. Not only that, but it is also a computer-mediated, technological online hub of information, a community of online friends, a way for you to express yourself anonymously and a way to express yourself creatively to the world. Social media is a great way to bridge geological gaps like never and, years after its inception, Internet Relay Chat, it has come a long way from what it was before to how it is right now, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. And we have more options to choose from now than ever before.
However, there is also the fact that Social Media can come with its own challenges and its own dangers.
Social Media is Addictive
It takes up too much of your time, and you spend too many hours sitting down instead of participating in your own life.
Reduces loneliness by communicating with others online
Social media allows people with a mental illness to express themselves without fear of stigma because of the anonymity that social media and, by extension, the internet gives.
Leads to jealousy if you are not careful
The comparison trap will have you comparing your life to other people based on what they put online. And if you find yourself jealous about a photo that someone posted on Facebook and you feel jealous about what they have in that picture, they probably had to work hard to get those things, and maybe he or she has more struggles in life to deal with than you initially thought. Life is not perfect for anyone, we all have our struggles, and people’s experiences are different from one another’s.
Inspires healthy choices in life
Social media can be used to announce a goal to online friends so that online friends can promote accountability and help you stay focused and increase your success in reaching your goal. Also, your online friends provide a positive reinforcement every time you blog about your progress towards your goal.
Comparing our lives with others is mentally unhealthy
Social Media might lead you into a comparison trap that will leave you feeling socially isolated. This is because you will be comparing yourself to other people (and their posts) and how you measure up or down to them.
You peek into what your peers show off, and you end up comparing what they have to what you have in your own life. So, it is better to compare less and focus more on living your life to the fullest.
Build an online community
People online have built communities based on their common interests or common disabilities or mental health issues or common something else. Whatever it is they have in common, there is a community for it somewhere on social media. And a good thing about a community is that they can express themselves creatively through art or photography or other hobbies. And they can schedule meetups on a meetup.com or on a Tweetup feature on Twitter if they ever want to meet and hang out in real life.
Depending too much on Social media to avoid your problems
Depending on social media too much can cause you to avoid your problems in real life instead of facing them head-on. Using Social Media to help is a nice distraction but, sooner or later, you must go back into the real world and take an active part of your life so that you can live a life that you are proud of.
Aids medical research for mental health professionals
Mental health professionals use Social media tools like Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest to collect data for research and to connect with other professionals in the online community.
Friending on social media, even with people you do not even know
Of course, there are people online that you do not even know at all. And there might be people who might not be who they say they are and might try to lure you into danger or steal your information if you are not careful. So, yes, be careful with who you associate with.
It can bridge geological gaps and strengthen relationships, online and offline
Social media can manage relationships, schedule meetups, update friends on your life so far, etc. It is also a good tool to use for those who want to meet up with other people with the same common interests as them or the same kind of mental illness or disability so that they can meet up and feel less alone.
Overall, Social Media has connected us more than ever before in recent years. Granted, it has its drawbacks, but it does have its benefits as well. Social Media can connect you to people across the globe and to other people that you thought you could never find in real life, like a long-lost friend who you recently discovered has a Facebook page, and you use Facebook to reconnect with that friend. And Social Media has a lot of people who might be going through similar struggles as you are, so that is worth checking out to find out. Whatever the tool and whatever the situation, Social Media tools like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr have the things and the communities to make you feel less alone in the world.
However, like everything on the internet, Social Media tools should be used with caution to prevent escapism or prevent people from using Social Media from harming you. And the comparison trap is also a rabbit hole that is easy to fall into so be wary of that, as well.
It all depends on how you use Social Media, though. Hopefully, you’ll use it to your benefit.