More than a third of American adults see social media as harmful to their mental health, according to a new survey by the American Psychiatric Association. The survey found that only 5% view social media as positive for their mental health. Another 45% said it has both positive and negative effects.
Two-thirds of the survey respondents believe that social media use is associated with social isolation and feelings of loneliness. There is a strong body of research linking social media use to depression. Other studies have linked it to envy, low self-esteem, and social anxiety.
1. Limit when and where you use social media
Social media use can interrupt and interfere with personal communications. You will be able to communicate better with the people in your life if you have certain times every day when social media notifications are off – or if your phone is in airplane mode. A commitment not to check social media during meals with family and friends, and when playing with children or talking to a partner. Ensure that social media does not interfere with work, distracting you from requesting projects and conversations with colleagues. In particular, don’t keep your phone or computer in the bedroom – it disrupts your sleep.
2. Have ‘detox’ periods
Schedule regular multi-day breaks from social media. Several studies have shown that even a five-day or week-long break from Facebook can reduce stress and increase life satisfaction. You can also cut back on expenses without getting cold: Using Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat for just 10 minutes a day for three weeks reduced loneliness and depression. It may be difficult at first, but seek help from family and friends by publicly declaring that you are on a break. And delete apps for your favorite social media services.
3. Pay attention to what you do and how you feel
Try using your favorite online platforms at different times of the day and for varying lengths of time, to see how you feel during and after each session. You may find that a few short nudges help you feel better than spending 45 minutes scrolling through the site feed. And if you find that getting into a Facebook bunny hole in the middle of the night routinely leaves you exhausted and feeling bad about yourself, remove Facebook after 10 PM. Also note that people who passively use social media, just browsing and consuming other people’s posts, feel worse than people who actively participate, post their own materials and interact with others online. Whenever possible, focus your online interactions on people you also know offline.
4. Approach social media mindfully; ask ‘why?’
If you look at Twitter as the first thing in the morning, consider whether you should be familiar with the breaking news you’ll have to deal with – or if it’s a reckless habit that serves as an escape from the next day’s confrontation. Noticing that you yearn to catch a glimpse of Instagram when faced with a tough job at work? Be brave and honest with yourself. Every time you call your phone (or computer) to check social media, I answer the tough question: Why am I doing this now? Decide if this is what you want your life to be about.
Over time, you will likely have many friends and contacts online, as well as people and organizations that you follow. Some of the content is still interesting to you, but a lot of it could be boring, annoying, infuriating, or worse. Now is the time to unfollow, mute or hide your contacts; The vast majority will not notice. And your life will be better for her. A recent study found that information about Facebook friends’ lives affects people more negatively than other content on Facebook. People whose social media included inspiring stories felt grateful, lively, and in awe. Pruning some “friends” and adding some motivational or funny websites is likely to reduce the negative effects of social media.
6. Stop social media from replacing real life
Using Facebook to keep up with your cousin’s life as a new mom is a good thing, as long as you don’t neglect to visit as the months go by. Twittering with a colleague can be fun and engaging, but make sure those interactions don’t become a substitute for speaking face to face. When used deliberately and deliberately, social media can be a beneficial addition to your social life, but only a flesh-and-blood person sitting on the other side of you can satisfy the basic human needs for connection and belonging.
Source: The conversation