Social media has really taken the world by storm, and people young and old are spending more and more time engaged in the practice. There are over 214 million users on Facebook in the United States alone. Studies have found that people spend an average of 30 minutes per day interacting on Facebook, while the total time spend screen watching and scrolling amounts to about ten hours per day.
It is very true that what you absorb in your environment has an effect on your health. The same is true of the media that you absorb and your mental health. You can control what you see on social media to an extent, but there are some things that you may wish you had not been exposed to due to its effect on your mood and stability.
One of the biggest problems with social media is that people say things online that they would never dream of saying in person. The comments that people post on your status updates or memes, as well as the memes that other people post, and trigger a lowered mood quite easily. You may feel angry, upset, or targeted.
Another problem with social media is that with sponsored ads and suggested posts, you can’t always control what you see. You can choose your friends wisely and block pages that post items that cause you distress, but you cannot possibly block everything that might upset you. Especially if you are already suffering from depression or anxiety, constantly being reminded of the state of society and government could make matters worse.
Social Media Does Help Some
Social media isn’t all bad. There are some very good benefits to utilizing social media for people who suffer from social anxiety or depression. Individuals who are homebound for other reasons can also greatly benefit increased mental health from social media interactions.
Studies have found that interacting with others, preferably in person, is the best way to stave off depression. Yet many people are unable to socially interact on a regular basis for one reason or another. Social media allows these individuals to socialize in a way that fends off depression and keeps them connected to others.
Support groups in social media are also extremely helpful for individuals who are unable to seek treatment outside the home. Regardless of the mental health struggles, you are dealing with, chances are there is a support group out there on Facebook to help you. Science has proven that getting the support of others facing your struggles can greatly improve your mental health.
The key to maintaining your mental health while making the most of your social media experience is to limit the time that you spend on social media each day. You can also limit your exposure to things that may be upsetting. If you find yourself spending vast amounts of time on social media each day, consider getting advice from a therapist on how to curb your habit.
Set the most positive people on your friend’s list as “see first” so that when you open Facebook you won’t be bombarded by upsetting memes and posts. Then, limit your scrolling and interaction when you are suffering, and use social media only to boost your mood through healthy interactions and support groups.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.