The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Social Media

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It doesn’t take much to realize that the world of social media is prevalent, and its impacts are everywhere. From viral videos to news articles and funny memes, social media is a way for people to connect, build businesses or brands, and gain a vast amount of knowledge. Social media has a plethora of benefits, but there is also a downside.

Did you know that according to the Pew Research Center, “69% of adults and 81% of teens in the U.S. use social media?” That means that a large population of people are susceptible to thoughts of constant comparison, imposter syndrome, and bullying. All of these impacts of social media have resulted in higher rates of depression, anxiety, and mental health problems.

There are still ways to consume social media mindfully. As many people say, all things are in moderation. Here’s more on how to identify and navigate the harmful influences of social media.

What Is FOMO?

“Fear of missing out” (FOMO) is a concept that was coined to describe the feeling of anxiety that comes from believing that others are having fun without you. In the years before social media, people would experience feelings of FOMO while watching television, reading magazines, or looking at postcards. Now that social media is extremely prevalent, FOMO is a concept that most people identify with daily.

FOMO and Social Media

Social media, and more specifically the algorithm that pushes certain content to your newsfeed or stream, feeds into the idea that you need more. Without understanding this concept, many people fall into constantly comparing their lives to others, which leads to anxious feelings.

Another common effect of FOMO is that people often are overly consumed with social media. Many people tend to use social media to escape or distract themselves from their daily lives. Sometimes social media can serve as a false sense of connection that causes people to use it as a substitute for connecting with people in real life.

For example, you may often feel distracted at work or school due to social media. How many times have you seen people out with family and friends in social settings, and everyone is hidden behind their phones? While social media was created to bring people closer together, it can result in overwhelming feelings of loneliness and isolation if you aren’t mindful.

If this sounds familiar to you, try to implement social media breaks or cut-offs at certain points of the day. Try not to indulge in social media as soon as you wake up or right before bed. Instead, make an effort for other mental health practices like attending therapy, performing physical activity, calling a loved one, or journaling if possible. Take time to examine your online habits and adjust them as you see fit.

4 Ways to Make Social Media Positive

For many people, completely cutting out social media is not possible. It is a part of people’s daily habits and is often used for work or communicating with loved ones. In this case, there is always room to turn a negative into a positive. Here are four things that you can implement:

#1. Consume content that makes you feel good. Follow the pages that add to your mental wellness and unfollow those that take away from it. Take time to connect with new friends that share similar interests. This will help you build an online community around things you love.

#2. Catch up with old friends or loved ones through social media. It is difficult to stay connected with people who you don’t see often, but social media gives you that instant access. Use your pages to grow closer to those who are far away.

#3. Join a community group that is committed to mental wellness. From Facebook groups to Instagram life, there are tons of free resources for you to learn about and explore mental health. This final step will help you build healthy practices for your mental health from the comfort of your home.

#4. Learn something new! Social media is a world of knowledge. Rather than using social media to mindlessly scroll, seek out information that will educate you on a new topic. One of the reasons why social media is so prominent is because it’s cyclical. People are constantly taking and adding to the platforms. Use your social media to learn about a new subject matter and share that information with those around you.

Although social media has its negative effects on mental health, there are some very positive outcomes if you use it intentionally. The internet is a place that contains everything under the sun, and social media is no exception. It’s important to filter the information you allow yourself to see. Constantly consuming potentially harmful content can trigger things like depression and anxiety. Social media seems like it’s here to stay, and it’s an effective way to keep up with friends and family. Try to focus on the areas of social media that are helping you learn and grow to ensure that your mental health isn’t negatively impacted. If consuming harmful content has led to your depression or anxiety, there are places that specialize in helping you. At The Kimberly Center, we offer many treatment options and, after talking with us, you can decide what works best for you. Contact us at (855) 452-3683 to discuss how we can help you.

Kimberly Center Staff
Kimberly Center Staff
Publishing account for ADDICTION RECOVERY

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