As human beings, we strive for social interaction and a way to stay connected to people. In the last few years, social media has played a big part in that, and lots of us use it to stay in touch with friends or family all over the UK or even the world. Connecting to other people can help ease anxiety and depression and feelings of loneliness. It is important to remember that online connections can not replace real-life human interactions. If you’re spending an excessive amount of time on social media then feelings of sadness, dissatisfaction, frustration, or loneliness may start to impact your life. If this is happening it may be time to re-think your online habits and find a healthier balance. Below are some of the signs look for if social media is impacting your mental health.
Feeling inadequate about your life or appearance
The images we see on social media are not a true reflection of life, and it is important to remember this. We see pictures of people always happy and laughing and with their families etc and it makes us begin to question our life and what we have and doubt if what we have is enough. People only tend to share the highs in their life or appearance, not their lows. So when you are scrolling through a friend’s feed and you see all these amazing images, don’t let it make you feel inadequate, as it is not always true.
Excessive use of social media can make you start to experience feelings of loneliness. You can begin to spend too much time in the online world and not enough time connecting with real people. If this is starting to happen, you, are beginning to isolate yourself and re-evaluate your habits.
Social media use can cause people to become self-absorbed. Sharing vast amounts of selfies as well as your private thoughts on social media can create unhealthy self-centeredness. This causes you to focus on creating your online image rather than creating memories with families and friends.
Fear of missing out
Fear of missing out has been around long before social media use became so popular. By seeing on social media what other people are doing in their lives, you can start to feel as if you are missing out on things that are others are engaging in. You may also find that you are becoming attached to your phone, checking it at constant intervals or responding to every message or notification, even if it means taking risks while driving, or choosing your phone over human interaction.
As mentioned before, humans need human interaction to feel connected to people, and also to feel mentally healthy. We all know that seeing our loved ones and spending time with them can boost our mood, but putting social media and our online world/friends before that can cause us to feel lonely and disconnected. Its feelings like this are linked to depression.
Anxiety can come from and be linked to the inadequate feelings mentioned before. Worrying that you don’t match a certain body type or have a certain look because of the images you see online, can significantly affect your mental health. Social anxiety myths.
If you have an unhealthy relationship with social media and if it is starting to affect your mental health, you may find that you are becoming distracted by your phone. At work, or school, you may find yourself not being able to concentrate properly as you are reaching for your phone at every opportunity that you get. This is unhealthy and will affect your productivity and performance, which may then result in sanctions or disciplinaries.
By spending lots of time online or on social media, you may find yourself becoming a victim of cyberbullying or trollng, and this is known to be detrimental to mental health. If you are posting lots of photos or comments online, unfortunately this then opens you up to hurtful and abusive comments. It is not acceptable and must be reported or dealt with appropriately. How to keep safe from cyber bullying.
You may find that you are so engrossed in your online life, that you are engaging in risky behaviour in order to get likes or comments. You feel as if you need these to make you feel better about yourself, but in order to gain them, you are posting risky or inappropriate content. This is damaging to your mental health as you are doing things that you know are not OK in order to get people to like it and like you.
If you are feeling that some of these signs are familiar and you are worried about your mental health linked with social media then there are a few things you can do to try and manage your technology habit.
– Remove social media apps from your phone
– Turn off notifications
– Don’t take your phone/tablet to bed
– Turn off your phone/tablet at certain times of the day
– Limit how often you check your phone.
– Talk to someone about how you are feeling.
All clinicians at Oxford CBT are Cognitive Behavioural Therapists or Psychologists, offering evidence-based interventions and support for a range of issues for both young people and adults. If you would like to book an appointment you can do so on our online booking portal. If you have a question please get in touch via our online contact form or call us on 01865 920077.