Hello my lovelies, welcome back to itsjustabbsxo.
Over the last two months, I have really changed the way I view the world of social media and the internet in general. I began really thinking about the impact on social media when I realised that it was truly affecting my mental health; especially instagram. I took a break from that app, in total I took six weeks off. It helped so much, I wasn’t feeling as down about my appearance and nor was I thinking I had to have a certain image or wear certain clothes.
Now, I actually really enjoy using Instagram and so I made the decision to unfollow all people that didn’t bring me joy; that I felt were hurting my mental wellbeing. Since doing this, I find instagram a happy place to be, I can find myself scrolling through the app for hours on end. It got me thinking; what affect does social media have on our lives? Is it just me that was affected badly by it or is it happening to the world? I of course began to research into this further and wanted to share my findings with you all!
Did you know, the average person worldwide spends up to 136 minutes a day on social media?Clement, 2019
Social media of course offers so many benefits to the world of influencers and bloggers; I mean, we all use it every day to grow our businesses, connect with new people with similar interests, connect with businesses to work on collaborations etc… However, there has been more and more evidence that social media use can cause cases of depression and anxiety, poor sleep, low self-esteem and body image concerns. Social media has even been described as being more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol.
Here are some points I have found during my research on the affects social media has on our lives and well-being:
- Fear of missing out: You see these glamorous celebrities/influencers living “their best life” travelling the world, site seeing and completing things that have been on your bucket list for years. It is normal for you to suddenly feel like you are missing out. You can develop a sudden feeling that other people are living a much better life than you and this can cause a lot of unwanted emotions towards yourself, your family and your friends. The idea that you are missing out on certain things can impact your self-esteem, trigger social anxiety and even fuel more social media use. This fear and worry can cause you to pick up your phone every few minutes to check for updates; leading to a lack of sleep and ending up prioritising social media over real world relationships.
- Feeling extremely low with regards to your appearance: Sometimes, even though you are aware that images can be edited and manipulated, you can still feel insecure about how you look or what is happening in your own life. Even if you know that images you’re viewing on social media are manipulated, they can still make you feel insecure about how you look or what’s going on in your own life.
- Cyber bullying: About 10 percent of teens report cyber bullying on social media and many other users are subjected to offensive comments. Social media platforms such as Twitter can be hotspots for spreading hurtful rumors, lies, and abuse that can leave lasting emotional scars.
- Depression & Social anxiety: We, as human beings, need face-to-face interractions to feel mentally healthy; it is known that when you spend time with people that care for you, your mood instantly changes and becomes more positive. The more time you spend on social media, the higher the risk for developing or exacerbating mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Now, this wouldn’t be a fair post if I didn’t include the positive side of social media:
- Able to communicate with friends and family despite being in different parts of the world
- Connect with new people that share same interests
- Build up relationships with online businesses in order to grow your blog/website/social media profile
- Find social support during difficult times
- Able to share your passions and creativity with like-minded people
- Learn new things everyday
What can you do to make social media feel like a positive place again?
- Take regular breaks
- Limit your usage to an hour a day
- Do not go on social media before bed
- Unfollow anyone that leaves you feeling unhappy or resentful
- Find what is the cause for your unwanted feelings and eliminate the problem (for example, if you notice that a certain celebrity has been causing feelings of body-consciousness, block that person so you don’t have to see those images or tweets anymore.)
Ok, there we have it, my research on the affect social media has on our mental health and the general well-being of our lives. Despite doing my research on social media and finding out just how negative the internet can be on our lives; I know I will still use it. I find it amazing that I am able to interact with people around the world that share the same interests as me. I love that I am always finding new bloggers that I wouldn’t have come across if it wasn’t for Twitter or Instagram. I wanted to write this post to share that if you ever feel low, anxious, depressed or self-conscious. Take time away from social media.
What do you think about social media? Has it ever affected your mental health, if so, how did you change it?
Until next time, Abbs xo