How Social Media Impacts our Mental Health
By: Jenn Moss
If there is one thing that brings humans together, it is the needs and wants for connection. When we surround ourselves with friends and family, it triggers a feel-good hormone that makes us feel loved, and attached. When we do not have the ability to be with each other, we lose that sense of connection. However, with the rise of social media, it may serve as a way to combat this, although it is not a replacement for real human connection.
Here are some great things about social media to consider:
- A chance to stay up to date with friends and family that may live far away
- When a family member, friend, or pet passes away, it can allow others to pay their respects and makes you feel less alone with the grieving process
- Allows you to ignite your creativity, creating engaging posts that may utilize your photographic, editing, and cinematic skills
- Promotes your business and special offerings in a place where a lot of people are present
Platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Tik Tok, highlight the lives of people all around the world. Often, these posts showcase people in the best light, looking their best, traveling to exotic places, and “living their best life.” Although there are some accounts dedicated to representing their everyday real lives, and the truth, many accounts use filters and photoshop to create the lives and appearances they wished they had.
Here are some crucial negative impacts of social media intake:
1. Extreme Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
People often post about their travels and social engagements. This can be troublesome to see if you were not invited in the first place, or simply seeing your social media connections having more fun than you are. It can lead to feelings that people are living better, more fulfilled lives than you, triggering your anxieties about doing enough.
2. Lowering of Self-Esteem/Potential Eating Disorders
Some accounts highlight seemingly flawless men and women, who are slender, fit, and “perfect.” By constantly taking in that media over and over, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy, and a lowering of self-esteem regarding your body image. If these feelings ruminate, it could potentially lead to eating disorders, as they think that they can and should achieve that “perfect” body that way.
3. Cyberbullying is Real and Thriving
Cyberbullying does not stop with childhood. Many adults as well as use the comfort of being behind a screen to fight with, and bully others. What is said over the keyboard would 9/10 never be said if they had to face the person in real life and look them in the eyes. Lies, rumors, drama, and harmful comments can cause the recipient to experience very real anxiety and depression as a result.
Social media has the power to bring us together, but it also has the power to divide. For these reasons mentioned above, it may be smart to consume social media sparingly.