Social Media Seriously Harms Your Mental Health

Vehicle besides wall with graffiti about social media

Negative Effects Of Social Media

Ever since the arrival of social media websites such as FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram, many people have wasted precious hours of their life on the internet rather than going out and making friends, socializing, playing sports, exercising, reading and studying.

People who spend more than two hours per day on social media are more likely to report symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is because social media makes you believe that others are having fun and “living the life” while you are sitting behind a computer screen as a bystander; it is all a mirage. Most people are not living extravagant lives and having as much fun as you think they are.

Social media increases your risk of experiencing cyberbullying. There are people out there who love putting others down and causing them embarrassment and humiliation; Twitter is big for this kind of behavior. Experiencing cyberbullying can make you feel depressed; some people even commit suicide.

FOMO or “fear of missing out” is developing anxiety when you observe others on social media having more fun than you are having; you become scared of missing out on a positive experience or emotion that someone else is experiencing. For example, a college student on FaceBook observes that a bunch of his classmates are attending a party on Friday night, but he was not invited. This will cause him to feel lonely and possibly even depressed.

Social media promotes unrealistic expectations (i.e., Youtube millionaires, Instagram modeling, becoming famous for doing something online) that waste your energy and time and distract you from the more important things in life, such as education and realistic career goals.

Social media can make you believe that you have a negative body image. For instance, seeing famous accounts on Instagram of men and women who are fit, rich and wearing expensive clothes can make you feel insecure about yourself; you start wondering why you don’t look like them. This promotes insecurity, anxiety and makes you feel self-conscious.

Social media can adversely affect your sleep quality. Many people stay up late to chat and browse photos and other people’s accounts, causing them to develop poor sleep hygiene and feeling non-productive the following day. This habit can promote drug use such as stimulants to stay up the next day. In the long run, unhealthy sleep patterns pave the way to mental illness.

Lastly, social media can be very addicting. Most people have to check their accounts at least once a day to make sure that they are not missing out on something. As with any addiction, it affects your mood, choices, beliefs and behavioral patterns.

As with anything in life, moderation is key!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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