Social media was designed with one goal in mind — connection. Online, connective spaces allow people to catch up with friends and stay up-to-date with family, their favorite celebrities and the daily news. It lets us talk to people all around the world and maintain long-distance relationships.
However, there is a dark side to social media. Online connectivity is no replacement for in-person interactions, yet many people treat it as such. This has led to a whole generation that has an increased risk of anxiety, depression and self-destructive behaviors. Finding a balance looks different for everyone, but you can learn how to protect your mental health from social media dangers.
The Positive and Negative Effects of Social Media on Mental Health
As mentioned, social media does have its positives. It allows us to:
- Become more educated and informed about world news.
- Meet people with similar beliefs from diverse backgrounds.
- Raise awareness of important issues.
Still, studies have shown that there are plenty of adverse effects that social media has on our life, like:
- Low self-esteem.
- Feeling isolated and disconnected.
- Increased likelihood of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.
- Fear of missing out (FOMO).
- Disrupted sleeping patterns.
- Harassment and cyberbullying.
How to Tell When Social Media Is Impacting Your Mental Health
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it might be time to reevaluate your relationship with social media:
- Spending more time online than in real life
- Feeling distracted throughout the day
- Taking harassment personally
- Worsening mental illness symptoms
- Inability to fall or stay asleep
How to Protect Yourself From Social Media Dangers
When you’re a heavy social media user, it can be a challenge to change your scrolling patterns. Here are some tips for getting started:
- Limit use: Studies have shown spending more than two hours per day on social media gave users the most harmful effects.
- Silence notifications: Turn off social media notifications or delete the apps from your phone. This makes it harder for you to check your accounts and get sucked into mindless scrolling.
- Unfollow negative accounts: Make your social media space happy, motivating, funny and inspirational. Let it fuel you instead of draining you.
- Be mindful about your feelings: How do you feel after spending time on social media? Record it and take note of whether it’s a positive or negative influence on your life.
- Make plans offline: There’s no replacement for real-life personal connections. Whenever you can, meet face-to-face with people over connecting with them online.
7 Summit Pathways Can Help
Mental health and substance abuse are often connected. When your mental health is suffering, drug or alcohol use can increase. At 7 Summit Pathways, we take a comprehensive approach to recovery that focuses on physical, mental and emotional wellness so that you can combat both issues at once. Our compassionate staff will work with you one-on-one to help guide you through the road of recovery.
We have options that can fit into any lifestyle. Contact us today to discuss our outpatient and inpatient programs and our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), a hybrid model that can work around your needs.