05 Feb, 24

The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health: A Psychological Perspective


Social media has devoured our lives in more than one way. Almost everyone has an online presence, and it is sort of an unsaid rule that is a prerequisite to fitting into this digital world that we live in. But have we ever stopped to think about how all this exposure to social media impacts our mental health? As we see a gradual increase in such issues among social media users, it is high time that we start thinking about it seriously.

Social Media And Mental Health

Researchers have extensively studied how social media use impacts mental health. The complex interaction between social media and mental health has also been studied in depth.

The social comparison theory gives us a way to think about how these brain processes work. Social media users often compare themselves to those they think are more accomplished or ecient. This approach might lower self-esteem by making you feel inadequate. Social media information is deliberately selected and exalted, which may lead to false hopes and a distorted self-image.

Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

To say that social media has an impact on our mental health would be a gross understatement. Most of our lives start and end with social media, and the toll it has on our mental health is huge.

1. Misinformation

Although social media spreads information, the abundance of incorrect information makes it hard to think rationally. Cognitive dissonance is mental anguish from opposing viewpoints and hearing con-flicting or inaccurate information may cause this. This battle may increase anxiety and mental stress. Misinformation can also change people’s environmental perceptions, which can impair decision-making and worsen emotional distress.

2. Self-absorption

A bad sense of self can come from posting a lot of seles and talking about your personal feelings about every social scenario. People in your life may feel farther away from you if you are too focused on yourself. This is why we have to often be mindful of how much time we spend on social media. The more time we spend scrolling through posts, the more we become focused on ourselves. The hardest thing is that we do not even realize this is happening to us.

3. Fear of missing out (FOMO)

FOMO predates social media. In other words, FOMO existed years before social media. But the advent of various new online platforms has exacerbated this feeling, Scrolling through these sites and applications can make you assume that others have it better. Thinking you’re missing out on excellent things might make it hard to feel good about yourself. It can cause depression and loneliness, which might increase social media use even more.

4. Cyberbullying

The internet is a platform for cyberbullying and other forms of cruelty. Cyberbullying can harm mental health since victims are constantly abused online. Victims may be unable to escape the relentless hostility on social media due to their anonymity. This can increase tension, concern, and, in severe situations, mental health issues. The survey (we need to give the source if we are quoting any survey or studies) indicated that roughly 60% of kids had been harassed or abused online, including on social media. Bullies are increasingly using social media to fabricate harmful lies and circulate stories that can leave victims emotionally traumatized.

5. Depression and anxiety

Social media can cause depression and anxiety due to glorified images and lifestyles one sees as posts in their feed. Social comparison theory says people measure themselves by how they compare to others. Comparing neatly crafted online personas might make people feel inadequate and diminish their self-worth. Being constantly exposed to filtered pictures of others' lives might lead to unreasonable hopes, unhappiness and anxiety if not satisfied.

6. Curtailed Social Interactions

Spending an excessive amount of time on social media might make it more difficult to interact with people in real life, which can result in fewer contacts. When people have fewer opportunities to engage with others, they may experience feelings of loneliness and isolation. Socializing is beneficial to one's mental health. In the process of being accustomed to online contact, those who do not spend a significant amount of time with other people may become less sociable. It is possible that this will make it more difficult for them to interact with others and manage things in real life.

7. Lack of Empathy

Using social media too much can make it harder to understand how others feel. When we spend lots of time on these platforms, we might get used to online interactions that feel distant or not so deep. When we communicate through screens, we lose out on many social signals present in face-to-face interactions. For instance, a teen receiving a text from a friend misses the visual cues (like eye contact and expressions), tone of voice, and even physical touch. Empathy tends to develop better when we're together in person because of these cues. Additionally, in online environments where people can stay anonymous, it becomes easier for individuals to disregard others' feelings, which might lead to more aggressive or insensitive behavior than they'd show in person.

8. Body image issues

People can feel unattractive because social media posts flawless physique images. Watching these photos promotes a culture of comparison, making people criticize their bodies by unreasonable standards. Constant comparison causes body discontent, which can lead to eating disorders, low self-esteem, and body dysmorphic disorder. Social media's detrimental impacts on mental and emotional health can affect people's daily lives.

How to Avoid Unhealthy Social Media Habits

It is impossible to live without social media in the time and age we live in today. It is mostly because everything we do is somehow connected to social media and the people in it. So, how do we handle this digital mammoth? Here are some tips on that.

Limit The Time You Spend on Social Media

Using social media can get in the way of talking to someone in person. Set times every day when you don't get any social media alerts or even put your phone in airplane mode. This will help you connect with the people in your life better. During meals with family and friends, while playing with kids, or while talking to your partner, promise not to check social media. Make sure that social media doesn't get in the way of your work and keeps you from focusing on important tasks and talking to coworkers. For example, don't keep your computer or phone in the bedroom because it will keep you up at night.

Filter The Content You Consume

Negative information can make you feel bad. It might make you think the worst about everything. You may also find it hard to accept good things in your life because you don't think you deserve them. In the end, you turn into a negative person. On the other hand, positive material makes you more upbeat, which is good for your overall health.

Take A Digital Detox

You can rest, recover, and get back on track when you take a break from social media. You can get your thoughts in order to put yourself and other things in your life first. Take a break. It might help you see things more clearly and value the life you live more. Taking breaks also helps you get more done.

Social Media Is Also A Tool

At the end of the day, social media is also just another tool that we use to get by. The control is always with us, and not the other way around. But if you feel like things are getting a bit overwhelming and you need to talk to a professional, remember that Zivanza is just a call away. Our professional psychologists create a safe space where you can open up about your mental health concerns, and we try to find a solution for it together.


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