Can Social Media Affect Your Mental Health?
Have you ever felt more down than usual after scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram timeline Choma? Do you ever wonder if being on social media too much is actually affecting your life? There are some studies, Choma, that show how social media can have a negative impact on your life and on your mental health. Apparently, there are different reasons for this, I’ll list a few of these in this article and then you can let me know your thoughts.
You might think that social media is supposed to make you feel more connected to your friends and to the world around you, but sometimes it can actually have the opposite effect. There are a few ways social media can actually make you feel lonelier and most of it depends on where you are in your own life. One way could be spending more time on social media than you spend being social with your friends offline in real life. This means that you might see more posts of people together while you scroll through your timeline and this can make you feel lonelier because you're not a part of it (especially if your friends are tagged). You might look at other people’s lives and think that their lives are more exciting and that they have more friends than you - even if this is not the case (because not everything you see online tells the full picture). The lifestyle that you see online can make you feel like yours is not as fulfilling.
Comparing Your Life
This ties in with the first reason Choma. Any time that you start comparing your life to someone else’s this can leave you feeling really down about your own - but social media can make this worse. On social media there are a lot more people to compare yourself to than there are in real life. This means that you might not only compare your life to your friends, but to celebrities or Instagram models as well - especially those who are around your own age. You might look at their lives and think that they are progressing faster than you, having it easier than you or have better opportunities than you. However Choma, just by looking at their pictures and status updates you don’t really know what’s going on in their lives, they could only be showing one side. So you should never actually compare your life to anyone else’s because this can definitely affect your thinking in a negative way.
We can all admit that seeing other people’s social media posts can make us a bit jealous, from their contour game and travel lifestyle to their promotions and pics with bae. But feeling jealous or envious of someone to the point where you start to say nasty things about them or try to fake an online life by posting pics to try and one-up them is unhealthy. This can be made worse when you start to harass them online or put more and more pressure on yourself to do things just for Instagram or Facebook likes.
There’s still a debate about whether internet or social media addiction is a real thing Choma but you have to admit that you probably wouldn’t be able to live without your phone, especially because of social media. With social media there’s a constant need to know what’s going on and a constant FOMO (fear of missing out). That’s because so many things can happen in a short space of time on social media. But it can be unhealthy if all you’re doing is looking at your phone all day and if being without your phone makes you unusually sad or angry, you would have to question why you need social media so much - is it because it helps you escape real life? Is it because you need to speak to people online more than you need to speak to those around you? Is it because you need to check how many people like and commented on your post to feel better about yourself?
Choma, this is not to say that feeling down every now and then by what you see on social media means that your mental health has been negatively affected or that you now have mental health issues. Social media becomes a major problem for your life if whenever you’re on it you constantly feel bad or if you only use social media to try and make you feel good about yourself.
If you start to feel consistently down about your life Choma, whether on you're on social media or not, then it’s a good idea to speak to someone Choma. You can call The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) on their 24hr Helpline: 0800 12 13 14 or call Lifeline on their 24 Hour Counselling Number: 011 422 4242 or 0861 322 322.
Remember, you can also send me a message to talk to me about anything. So if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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