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Social media has become a significant part of all of our lives. Various platforms and applications provide a way to interact with our social circles in new and unique ways. We can communicate, explore our creativity, and share ideas completely virtually. For better or worse, social media has become a powerful influence on the world.
As human beings, we need socialization. We rely on relationships with others to help us create fulfillment in our lives. There are several health benefits that socializing with others can provide, both mental and physical. We need connections with other people to thrive in our lives and achieve goals.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Social Media
There are a number of key pros and cons of social media.
Social media has connected the entire world in a way that was never possible before. It can be a great tool to stay connected with friends and family that you aren’t physically close to. You have opportunities to discover groups of people that you might never have met in person. Social media is a unique new way to build a circle of support.
Spreading ideas and information quickly is an incredible way to utilize social media. It has become a tool for businesses to promote their services. Social change can also be sparked through the sharing of information on social media. The moving of information all over the world is a useful facet of social media. There are many amazing things that social media can accomplish.
It is important to recognize some of the drawbacks of social media as well. Social media can be used as a tool for bullying. Misinformation can be spread as easily as facts. Interacting through social media can give people a skewed idea of interpersonal communication. Social media can become problematic in many ways.
Spending time on social media can become consuming. Sometimes this can lead to excessive procrastination or neglect of our responsibilities. Being present in our lives can also become difficult with the constant pull of social media calling to us. Exploring social media close to bedtime can even disrupt our sleep patterns.
Negative Effects of Social Media on Mental Health
Social media platforms can definitely affect our mental health in detrimental ways if we aren’t careful. While social media can supplement our relationships with others, it is important to remember that it should not replace real-life human interactions. When you are able to connect with someone in person, it triggers physiological responses that help relieve stress and regulate moods. Interacting through social media does not give you the same benefits.
One of the more dangerous social media traps you can fall into is comparing yourself to others online. It is easy to forget that social media allows us to portray our lives however we want, often leaving out unpleasant realities. Social media is not reality. Comparing yourself to what is being represented online can lead to feelings of inadequacy and depression.
Social media can also interrupt some of the basic life skills that we need to develop. For example, you might pull up a social media platform instead of processing feelings of anxiety in social situations. You may turn to social media instead of reaching out to friends or finding something to do when you are experiencing boredom or loneliness. Our minds also need downtime. If we are constantly turning to social media, we have no time for rest and self-reflection.
Unfortunately, social media use can also develop into a behavioral addiction. The addiction can cause you to become overly fixated on checking or updating social media. If you are experiencing social media addiction, you will feel the constant urge to be on social media. It might even start having an impact on other areas of your life. You might find yourself distracted at work or at school. In extreme cases, you might also be driven to engage in risky behaviors to gain attention on social media.
Setting Appropriate Boundaries for Yourself
The first step in setting boundaries for yourself is to recognize how much time you are spending on social media and how it is impacting your life. Once you can raise your awareness, then you can start to be more mindful. Setting limits and boundaries for yourself on social media is a process that will be personal to each person.
Ask yourself the following questions to help you set healthy and appropriate goals for yourself:
- How much time do I spend on social media? Asking yourself this can help you set goals to start limiting how much time you spend on social media every day.
- What is social media taking my attention away from? Figuring out what you are neglecting will help you decide where you need to redirect your time.
- How do I feel after spending time on social media? If you can self-reflect to identify what makes you feel good or bad, you can direct yourself away from things that negatively impact you.
- What do I want to get out of my social media use? Identifying your social media goals will ultimately help you be more mindful while using these platforms.
If you find yourself having trouble setting limits on your social media use and it is affecting your mental health, you may want to seek help from a mental health professional. A therapist can help you sort through your thoughts and feelings regarding social media. They can offer tools and support to make changes in your life for positive mental health. Alter Wellness Group has a variety of services that you can utilize to establish better behavior patterns.
Social media can be a significant influence on your life. If you find your mental health negatively affected by social media, there are several things that you can do to make changes. Sometimes identifying what change you need to make can be confusing. At Alter Wellness Group, we can help you sort through your thoughts and feelings. We are available with a variety of services and support to help you achieve your goals. If you are experiencing depression or anxiety because of social media, our compassionate team will help you through every step in the process of getting back on track. Call us today at (866) 311-3510 to find more information and connect with a team that can help you.