Like it or hate it, social media is here to stay. There are tons of positive stories floating around about the incredible power of social media, however, there’s also no escaping the fact that studies have shown how heavy social media use can affect a person’s mental health.
Heavy social media use can be extremely detrimental to your mental health. In fact, studies have linked heavy social media usage to rises in conditions such as:
- Poor Body Image
- Fear Of Missing Out
What is a social media detox?
If any of these feelings and emotions sound familiar, a social media detox could well be just what the doctor ordered.
Taking a social media detox involves the act of removing yourself from your social media channels for as little or as long as you want to. That’s basically it – there’s nothing complicated or stressful about it – it’s simply the act of taking a break from scrolling.
I know that taking a social media detox may not sound like it will help, but by removing yourself from the online world, you will find yourself focusing more on the realities of modern day living, rather than the highlighted and scripted details that we are so often bombarded with on social media. If you’re worried that taking a social media detox will restrict your ability to express yourself or share your thoughts and feelings, a good way to continue these habits is to start journaling for mental health. Journaling allows you to vent and express yourself without the use of social media.
In order to participate in a social media detox, you could choose to completely remove yourself by deactivating your social media accounts, or you could simply remove the app icon from your phone’s home screen. Removing the app from your home screen by moving it to a different folder, or even just removing it from your phone completely, is a brilliant method to ensure you don’t find yourself opening the app without realising it.
5 Signs That Social Media Is Impacting Your Mental Health
1 You Can’t Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
As Theodore Roosevelt once said: “comparison is the thief of joy”, and boy was he right about that. The problem with social media is that, for the most part, it’s all just one big highlight reel. Social media has become less about reconnecting with old friends and more about showing off. Highlighting the greatest parts of your life on social media is common, but what is shared far less often are people’s struggles.
If you’ve found yourself constantly comparing your own life to others, it may be time for you to take a break from social media. Comparing your life to the lives of other people can make you feel inadequate, and lead you to feel dissatisfied with your own achievements. Strong emotions of jealousy and resentment are common, and heavy social media users can often become depressed or anxious after scrolling through their social media channels.
2 You’re Annoyed By Everything You See
Have you found yourself opening up your social media app, only to find that as you scroll, you get more and more annoyed? If you find yourself feeling irritated by what you see on social media, it could be time for a social media detox. Social media can be a pretty mentally draining place, not only do you regularly find yourself bombarded with other’s highlights, but you also come up against heavy political rants, graphic images, and depressing news stories.
3 You Find Yourself Scrolling Social Media Without Even Realising It
Having a quick scroll through social media has become akin to taking a quick smoking break. Studies have shown that social media addiction affects around 5% of young people and was recently described to be more addictive than alcohol and cigarettes. It’s common for people who use social media a lot to find themselves “doomscrolling”; this is the act of mindlessly scrolling without fully processing that you’re doing it. Doomscrolling can be responsible for a lack of productivity through lost time, and it can also affect your mood by constantly hitting you with new updates during the day.
4 You Can’t Enjoying Living In The Moment Without Posting About What You’re Doing
Ever been out and about with your friends, family, or significant other and felt the need to share exactly how much fun you’re having on your social media accounts? If you answered yes, it could be time for a social media detox. Oftentimes we find ourselves seeking validation from our contributions to social media; every ‘like’ we get gives us a little hit of dopamine and makes us feel good about ourselves. This feeling is usually pretty short lived and can lead us to constantly refresh our feeds to seek out that hit again and again.
5 You Experience FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out
One of the biggest things that impacts our mental health when it comes to our social media consumption is FOMO – otherwise known as Fear Of Missing Out. Facebook and Instagram can seem like a constant parade of fun and exciting things that everyone else is getting up to. This can be difficult to deal with and it can be hard to keep yourself motivated and happy when it seems like everyone else is having an amazing time 24/7. We all know that social media doesn’t show us reality very often, instead, it shows us a polished, edited, and oftentimes fake representation of everyday life. Again, this can lead social media users to feel depressed and defeated.
These are just 5 of the signs to watch out for that may signal it’s time for a social media detox.
There are several other negative effects that social media usage can have on a person’s mental health. If, at any time, you start to feel that scrolling through social media is no longer enjoyable, or it seems to make you feel miserable rather than positive, you could very well benefit from a social media detox.