In this technological age you literally don’t have to meet up, call or even text to check up on a friend. All you have to do is pick up your phone, log onto your social media platform, and view your timeline to check your friend’s profile, tweets or posts. There’s twitter, facebook, instagram, snapchat and many of their users update their followers ‘round the clock!
How often are you on social media? Rarely, occasionally maybe even frequently? Did you know social media is said to be more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol? Let’s take a look at how social media can impact your life.
Social networking sites, or apps help individuals connect with friends and family, promote business ventures, educate, blog etc. Heck we love it! But along with this upside, there can be a downside.
A common theme in the world of social media is image. How one looks, or what people think is often important to social media users. Social media also has a tendency to highlight the good in someone’s life (the new car, house, trip, baby, puppy, night out, etc) and when you don’t have as much good going on in your life it is so easy to compare and get down on yourself.
Did you know there are 3.03 billion social media users? That’s 3.03 billion opinions, minds, supporters, haters, and trolls. Unfortunately, all this can take a toll on a person…
So no surprise, social media use has been shown to have some negative effects on mental health.
One study found that social media use is linked to having symptoms of depression due to one’s altered perception of other people’s lives, looks, personality and image. The same study linked social media use to low self esteem from users comparing themselves to others. Not only are depression and low self esteem some concerns of continued social media use but so are increased anxiety, altered body image, anger and sadness.
These are real symptoms!
Besides having an affect on your mental health, too much screen time (looking at a phone or computer screen, tv, etc) can be bad for you too. Adults log an average of 9 hours and and 22 minutes every day of screen time. That’s about ⅓ of a whole day! According to the American Optometric Association staring at a screen too long can cause:
- strained eyes
- blurred vision
- neck and shoulder pain
- dry eyes
Even the act of sitting down for screen time can affect you in the long run. Obesity and weight gain have been linked to screen-based activities because they promote increased snacking.
To avoid some of the health effects discussed one solution is to detox from social networking! This helps you cut down on screen time, and make more time for you! 21% of Americans “unplug” or take a “digital detox” periodically! We know you love those funny facebook posts, and memes but too much of a good thing isn’t always good.
Remember: what consumes your mind can also control your life!
Want to detox for a bit? Here’s some tips:
- Deactivate your accounts: This helps prevents you from checking in out of habit
- Delete the apps: You won’t be as likely to open one up when you’re bored
- Reclaim your time: Pick up an old hobby, read a book, check up on friends IN PERSON, or take a nap. Use your newfound free time to do something that makes YOU happy.
If deactivating and deleting your account seems like a huge leap, choose a time every night to “disconnect”. For example, I will get off social media every night by 8 PM to focus on me time. Take an epsom salt bath or write in your gratitude journal. Allow yourself to have some time to recharge!