Social Media Impacting Your Mental Health

Woman with pink shorts and exposed legs holding phone with Instagram on

The Exotic Lifestyles Of Instagram

With so much time on our hands during this social distancing chapter of our lives, it’s hard not to notice the exotic pictures on instagram and other social media websites. Believe it or not, not everyone is stuck in your typical apartment or house in a normal town. Many are stuck in exotic places like Caribbean islands! But does social media negatively impact your mental health?

You bet it does. But it also depends if you allow it to. Remember that everything works on an unconscious level: our interactions with others, our observation of the environment, our perception of others’ lives, etc. Everything is recorded in the unconscious mind. Social media is basically a snapshot of others’ lives in that timeframe, but it is not at all representative of how those people are feeling.

The problem with social media is that when we observe pictures that we are attracted to, we forget to remind ourselves that it does not mean that the people in those pictures are happy with their lives. We just focus on the glamour and when we do that, it has the potential to make us sad in return, because we compare it with our ordinary lives.

So what you end up getting out of social media is a small dopamine rush by noticing beautiful and attractive pictures of people, places and things at the expense of your own happiness. That’s because the dopamine rush (which is minuscule in this case but strong enough to notice) lasts for a very short time, but your unhappiness can last for a much longer time.

So what you end up doing is revisiting these social media websites to get more of your fix, rather than focusing on your life and how to improve your mental health. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t spend time visiting social media platforms, but be aware of your state of mind and how it can be easily influenced by social media; don’t be oblivious!

And definitely don’t envy the exotic lifestyles which you notice on Instagram. Being envious towards others’ success will only make you miserable and prevent you from developing your own success. Don’t be that person. Rather, be appreciative and happy for others’ success. Would you want others to be envious of your success? I hope that you wouldn’t.

We are supposed to live happily together by teaching, sharing and helping each other. Our goal is to try to diminish the negative traits in humanity and promote new positive ones that can be passed down to future generations!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Weaponizing Mental Illness

Young girl sitting on sofa and checking social media on MacBook air with headphones on

Social Media Linked To Depression In Girls

The weaponization of mental illness is not a topic which you hear often; as a matter of fact, you almost never hear about it. That’s because to believe that there is a covert agenda to weaponize mental illness sounds outlandish and even extreme. Who would think of doing that and what would be the reason for it?

One interesting connection that can be made is the use of social media. New studies are revealing that the more frequently children and teenagers check their social media accounts (3 times per day is considered high), the higher their risk of developing depression. This is because a higher frequency of social media use results in poorer sleep, distractions from academics, sports and in-person relationships, cyberbullying and less physical exercise.

The evidence is demonstrating that social media use impacts girls more than boys. Girls are more likely to be emotionally affected by cyberbullying and are more prone to developing depression. It’s believed that depression is more common in females because of the sex steroid known as estrogen; it’s not clear why estrogen increases the risk of depression.

Taking away your children’s cell phones and access to computers is not a realistic solution in this day and age. But some possible solutions include:

  • No tech use in the bedroom at night
  • Teaching your children from a young age to focus more on academics and sports
  • Teaching your children about the dangers of social media use
  • Teaching your children discipline and balance
  • Setting a good example as a parent by not using social media that often

But what does this have to do with weaponizing mental illness? While a stretch, it’s always good to think outside the box and keep an open mind. Social media may be the platform that is relied upon by a covert organization to consistently contribute to the development of a mental illness, especially in children and adolescents.

By utilizing social media to cause mental illness in the masses, this tool helps to mentally destabilize the population, contributing to violence, mass shootings, hatred, division and suicides. Because there is no way on Earth that nature would contribute to mental illness, the only ways that a covert organization would increase mental illness is by technology and the reliance on genetic mutations.

How surprised would you be if scientists discovered that more than 1 hour of screen time per day would cause brain changes and genetic mutations, that would lead to the development of a mental illness? Would this be considered the weaponization of mental illness?

People are more prone to make irrational and impulsive decisions when suffering from a mental illness, especially when not medicated or under-medicated. And rather than relying on genetics for the development of mental illnesses in the masses, an environmental trigger must be created and utilized for fast results.

Is that where social media comes into play? Once again, this connection between social media and the weaponization of mental illness has absolutely no basis in the scientific literature. This is simply an idea worth entertaining, especially for those folks who keep an open mind to things and enjoy thinking outside the box.

If you’re not one of them, then forget that you ever heard of the weaponization of mental illness.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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)