We all are guilty of scrolling through our social media feed for hours, but how does that impact our health? Us human beings are social creatures. In order for us to thrive in life, strengthening our connections has a large impact on our mental health and happiness. When you feel socially connected to others there are various benefits that come along with it. But on the flip side, lacking strong social connections can have a serious risk to your mental and emotional health.
What some people forget at times is that social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter are great for meeting new people but can't be a replacement for real-world human connections. It requires in-person interaction with others to trigger the hormones that alleviate stress and make you feel happier and more positive.
When used too much or without caution social media can be a very dangerous place for your mental health. If you find yourself spending too much time on social media and feelings of sadness, dissatisfaction, frustration, or loneliness are impacting your life, you need to re-examine your online habits.
The question you may be asking is “how do I stay healthy on social media?”
Here are 5 healthy habits for social media:
It's very easy for us to get sidetracked on social media but one study shows that people who limit their time spent on social media to under 30 minutes each day report happier moods and feelings. Instead try to restrict yourself less and less each day, focus on being intentional and use social media for a specific purpose rather than just to kill time.
The blue light from our phones can negatively impact how well we sleep, but as we learned in our sleep blog post, a good night's rest is important for regulating our mood. Make sure to mute social media notifications and have your phone shut off an hour before bed.
Expressing gratitude about the important things in your life can be a relief to any resentment or animosity you sometimes feel from social media. Take time to reflect on the great memories and positives in your life. If you are more prone to venting or negative posts, you can even express your gratitude on social media- although you may benefit more from private reflection.
Seeing other people broadcast their successes of their lives might make your daily life pale in comparison. But remember that these moments aren't representative of someone's whole life, and the person posting them is probably struggling with a lot of the same things you are. Look at these posts as inspiration for you to work towards your own goals, rather than directly comparing your daily life to their instagram - one part of their life that they share (the best part).
Check in with yourself from time to time and if you're feeling down, maybe grab a coffee with a friend or go for a walk. Avoid spending time online and feeling anxious over the notifications throughout the day. If it becomes too stressful for you, consider deleting the social media apps from your phone or disable push notifications.
Being on social media can help enhance your life, but it can also easily become an additional stressor, and potentially worsen symptoms of anxiety or depression. Using these tips can help create a healthy social media balance in your life, protecting your mental health and using it in a positive way. Consider reaching out and speaking with someone if taking a break isn't helping you find relief.