This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
Montana recently became the first state in the United States to ban TikTok. Social media companies are being called to Congress to testify about failed safeguards. Nowadays, it seems like there’s a new danger of social media networks like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook in the news around every corner.
But the research say there are both positive and negative aspects to social media platforms, many of which remain invisible but still influence your mental health. Being aware of the powerful ways social media can influence you in the first step, but in some cases, it may be necessary to seek the support of mental health professional or try online therapy.
Being aware of the powerful ways social media can influence you in the first step, but in some cases, it may be necessary to seek the support of mental health professional or try online therapy. Learning how to take a mental break can help manage the negative effects of social media on our mental health.
Let’s take a look now at some of the ways social media can influence wellbeing, so you know what to be aware of.
Social Media Can Stoke FOMO
FOMO (or Fear Of Missing Out) is a constant concern on social media. With everyone in the world showing off their perfectly curated lifestyle on social media sites, it can be easy to compare ourselves and wish we were doing what they’re doing. If someone visiting the Greek Islands makes you think badly about your life, it may be time to reassess your social media consumption. Making harsh comparisons to yourself based on what you see on social media can lead to unhealthy thoughts.
FOMO can also be a red flag for other issues. In one social media study, FOMO was identified as a “predictor of problematic social media use” among those studied. They found that people who experienced FOMO were more likely to be overusing social media both in the number of social media platforms they use and the amount of time spent on various platforms. Fear isn’t a positive feeling. Be aware of feeling FOMO and how often and intensely you feel the fear of missing out.
Poor Sleep Due To Social Media
Many people report losing out on nightly sleep due to staying up later to participate in social media. Whenever we’re missing out on healthy sleep on a regular basis we can become more prone or susceptible to mental health issues. In a sleep study of otherwise healthy adults, people who experienced poor sleep had higher levels of anxiety and distress.
Setting limits on your phone use can help prevent sleep disruptions due to social media and other nighttime disruptions from your phone. If you’re having issues with sleep due to social media usage, try a focus app that limits the times of day you can use certain apps. So if Instagram is a possible issue for you at night, set a limit of 10pm as your cutoff.
Social Media Narcissism
Social media has been called a “Narcissist’s Playground” in that it encourages people to be self-centered. People document the food they eat and detail every mundane aspect of their life, which can lead them to mistakenly believe people are interested in these details. But between selfies and glamour shots at brunch, a narcissist can feel unhealthily driven by numbers of likes, shares and followers.
Narcissists are also more likely to be cyberbullies, as shown in certain studies. There have also been theories saying there’s a rise in narcissism due to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Whether social media exacerbates narcissistic tendencies or not, it’s always worthwhile to continue to examine your feelings while using social platforms. Do you feel better or worse after using social media most days?
Social Media Can Help Connect You To Community
Finding people who share the same interests can be challenging in person, especially if you have a more unusual hobby or you live in a less densely populated area. You may be able to easily find people who share your love of knitting or interest in a certain classic car model. Finding communities online is also much less time intensive than getting in your car and driving to events. In a world where we have increasing demands on our time, connecting with people online may actually help us enjoy our lives more.
Social media can help you connect important issues you care about. Social movements can spread like wildfire over social media and galvanize people to become more involved in their communities. So, we have to consider the ability to spread good alongside the possibility for misinformation and other negatives. Remember, social media is just a tool. It’s what we do with it. There are many ways to use social media for good.
Social Media Can Be A Powerful Tool For Promoting Your Business
The billion-dollar Kardashian empire was built on social media. Many people have become successful entrepreneurs through Instagram and other social media outlets. Feeling in control of your destiny and the amount of money you earn can help you feel more stable, plus provide you with the resources to lead a healthier lifestyle.
For some people, their job may require them to use Instagram to promote their business, which can be triggering if you have mental health challenges. In a case where you can’t avoid social media, you may want to seek more support for the ups and downs of being on social media.
Do You Need To Seek Help?
No matter what healthy boundaries you put on your social media consumption and participation, it’s important to remember how powerful the effects of social media can be on us as humans. Sometimes our social media usage can become more problematic, in other cases social media can exacerbate other mental health issues. Just know you are not alone, in-person therapists and online therapists are trained to assist you in addressing challenging areas of life like social media.