"A body is completely dead without its head, that's why the enemy attacks our mind first."
According to mentalhealth.gov, mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act in your daily life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, overcome challenges, relate to others, and make choices.
Since today is Mental Monday, I wanted to share some information about mental health and wellness in relation to social media.
How Social Media Affects Our Mental Health
1. It's Addictive.
Imagine how often you check and respond to your social media accounts. Not only that, just think about how many social media outlets you belong to. Personally, I have a Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and I secretly have a Sarahah (don't judge me). Social media literally controlled my emotions for years. I would wake up checking my notifications before I even got out of my bed. I still do, however, I have turned off my notifications so that I could be in control of my energy, somewhat.
I still check my accounts all day, however, I am not notified as soon as I get a comment or request. It helps a little. Baby steps...
2. It triggers more sadness, less well-being.
Social media use is linked to greater feelings of social isolation. Just imagine posting a selfie and returning back to your page to see that no one has liked it. Or finally sending that DM and checking to see when they will respond to you. I’ll check other social media outlets for a few minutes only to switch back to the original app and refresh it, hoping for a change. Read receipt but no reply? I'm dead.
3. Comparing our lives to others is mentally unhealthy.
While I was teaching public schools, I would look at people on social media and wonder how they got to live such fabulous lives. How are these 20-something year olds able to travel and take flights so much while I'm sitting here at work? I'm smart, educated, pretty, and such. What's wrong with me?
This proves to be detrimental to our mental health.
4. It can promote jealous behavior.
Jealously is a weak emotion. It's no secret that social media has made us more connected and aware of what others are doing, and this can lead to comparative behavior. Whether it is a new gift, promotion, relationship, likes or views, it presents a feeling of resentment towards someone because of what they have and the attention they get.
Feelings of jealousy can often be accompanied by feelings of deep insecurity, low self-esteem and fears of abandonment, which in return has a detrimental effect on our mental health.
5. More friends on social media doesn't mean you are social.
Feeling as if you’re being social by being on Facebook doesn’t work. Since loneliness is linked to mental health problems, getting real social support is important. Virtual friend time doesn’t have the therapeutic effect as time with real friends.
Positive mental health allows people to:
- Realize their full potential
- Cope with the stresses of life
- Work productively
- Make meaningful contributions to their communities
- Become genuinely interested and happy for others and their accomplishments
Ways to maintain positive mental health include:
- Getting professional help if you need it
- Connecting with others outside of social media
- Staying positive in the midst of challenges
- Staying physically active
- Helping others
- Getting enough sleep
- Developing coping skills
- Detaching from social media every once in a while
Don't get me wrong, there are great benefits to social media such as connecting with old friends and staying connected to those that are far away from you. However, we must be sure to not become overwhelmed and addicted to this fascinating technology. We must be sure to keep our mental health first.
I’m currently resisting the urge to check my phone. You can do it too! Put your mental health first today.