Five Ways Social Media Affects Your Mental Health
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It’s common knowledge to know that alcohol and drug addiction is bad for our mental health. However, some of the equally deadly mental illnesses can be caused by practices we consider part of contemporary culture.
While everyone strives towards the protection of mental health, we often engage in certain activities that reduce the effectiveness of positive routines – a common one that’s seen across all age groups is social media. Although there’s a general conception that the negative effects of social media are only prevalent in the lives of teenagers, and younger kids, the idea is quite flawed as the effect of social media on mental health can be seen in the lives of any age group that uses social media.
Being an addictive exercise, its implications on mental health is progressive – as common with most addictive practices. There are many ways through which social media consumption can have negative impacts on the user’s mental health.
Can lead to anxiety
Perhaps the reason why social media addiction can cause multiple problems for our mental health is that it’s one of the addictive practices that lead to anxiety. More so, the fact that social media carries a false representation of reality compounds the likelihood of young adults developing anxiety after excessive use. Users are often found worrying about what the next user thinks of them, rather than facing reality and living a comfortable life.
People often have an emotional connection to their social media accounts – the more reason why most people develop anxiety after excessive use. Teenagers and young adults will often invest time and energy (and sometimes money) to keep up with current trends in the space – following the unspoken rules and culture of each social media platform.
Can lead to envy and jealousy
Jealousy and envy tend to creep in when one pays more attention to the lifestyle shown by others, especially when they’re not in the position to afford the same lifestyle for themselves. While social media seems like a place where people post the best version of themselves (and most times the false version), it’s easy for other users, especially those with lower followers to develop a level of inferiority complex that can trigger envy and jealousy.
Leads to sadness and depression
Excessive use of social can affect our happiness in more ways than we can imagine. Most people who don’t develop envy and jealousy of other social media users will often feel less of themselves while using the lifestyle portrayed by others as a benchmark they can’t achieve. They often forget that social media accounts carry only what the user wants you to see, instead of what actual reality is.
Creates communication issues
Considering that social media was a tool initially built to fill communication gaps, it’s hard to think it’ll eventually develop a negative feedback loop. Most people these days are so used to social media communication that they forget how to have direct conversations with relatives and friends – they’d rather post on statuses so people see what’s going on with them than actually pay their loved ones visits to talk about the important issues. In the end, most people addicted to communicating through social media lose proper communication ethics when it comes to real-life conversations.
While this isn’t directly a mental health problem, it’s a well-known catalyst that can trigger multiple mental health issues. Moodiness, anxiety, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are some of the few mental illnesses that are caused by sleep deprivation.