The Influence of Social Media on our Mental Health

Written by Dr. Keith Kantor
This generation is unknowingly being persuaded to stay engaged to social media platforms resulting in increased symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Relationship

The relationship between our mental health and social media has become a popular topic for cutting-edge scientific research. Health professionals are now suggesting that certain aspects of social media can increase our risk for developing symptoms of depression and narcissism. There are even major warning signs that have been labeled as predictors for depression if a person posts certain words or even filters to pictures.

This article is not intended to persuade you to get off social media it is just intended to make your more aware of the addictive behaviors associated with certain aspects of social media.

There are plenty of positive aspects to the communities on different social media platforms but it is important to make it a priority to have personal real-life relationships with actual people rather than staying in touch digitally on social media.

The Depression, Anxiety and Social Media Correlation

Those who tend to edit their photos with black and white tones have been linked to having depression tendencies.

Additional research suggests that regular engagement in multiple social media platforms, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression in young adults.

The platforms that primarily promote images (Instagram) are at the top of the list for negative feelings and symptoms of loneliness, depression, inadequacy, poor quality sleep, and even exposure to being bullied.

Some studies suggest that cortisol levels are increased at unnatural times throughout the day hindering sleep quality, hormone levels and weight management.

A study conducted by AARP on individuals 45 years and over concluded that loneliness is at an all-time high, yet we have more ways than ever to stay in touch.

Some professionals are labeling loneliness as an epidemic that is in the process of decreasing our life-span due to the lack of fulfillment that this age group once had. The older population is not volunteering as much or enjoying their leisure hobbies like prior generations.

Fueling the Narcissists

Fueling

Having a free global platform to validate one’s self-worth is a recipe for disaster for the narcissist. A narcissist is defined as a person who excessively admires oneself.

Most narcissists suffer from low self-esteem and turn to social media platforms, specifically Facebook for validation and a boost to their sensitive egos. These individuals tend to be very active on social media and post about themselves often counting the number of hits or “likes” their photos or post get.

Take Note of the Major Social Media Addiction Warning Signs including:

  • You manically check your social media platforms all throughout the day, almost subconsciously. You may even get sad if people do not comment or react to your posts as you thought they should.
  • Rather than having a conversation or making time to visit in person you tend to communicate with your loved ones on social media.
  • It is not uncommon to scroll your social platforms before you fall asleep and then as soon as you wake up. You can even feel somewhat panicked if you have been off your platforms for a long period of time. There is a psychological term for this called FOMO (Fear of missing out).
  • You compare your looks, finances, and experiences with others you follow on social media. This often results in feeling inadequate and depressed.
  • You are more concerned with capturing a moment to later post it, rather than simply enjoying the moment and being present with those you love or within the experience.

Find Balance and Boundaries

If you can relate to some of the addictive behaviors listed above you are not alone, it is simply time to create a balanced lifestyle with less screen time.

Put your phone on airplane mode before bedtime

Give yourself time to wind down and even do a “brain dump,” write a to-do list on paper for the next day allowing your head to clear. This will over time result in more sound sleep.

Time

Schedule in-person dates with loved ones

There is really nothing like catching up with old friends over lunch, laughing and making eye contact.

Check yourself often

We all know that people are only posting the best parts of their lives, the highlights and happy times, remind yourself often that no one is perfect and neither are you.

Our thoughts and feelings are controlled by huge technology companies. These professional individuals are in charge of steering our thoughts throughout the day through push alerts and ad placements during specific times of the day. The ethics behind these companies are questionable, they are competing for our attention- politically, emotionally, etc.

Think about how much the internet has sucked us in the past few years.

Technology is in control and racing to the bottom of our brain stem. This is resulting in anxiety, decreased attention span and more superficial conversations. These technology engineers and companies are making a profit at scheduling thoughts into our minds all throughout the day. Not only are they gaining a financial profit, but also they are gaining much more influence.

Conclusion

Simply becoming enlightened and self-aware of our brain’s ability to be persuaded is the first step.

Turn off your push notifications, use airplane mode more often, and be empowered to be alone with your thoughts, adhering to a schedule that is productive and meaningful.

Always remember that you are in control of what you would like out of your life, meaningful relationships and rewarding work should prioritize mindless scrolling.

If you have children, it is even more critical to avoid using your device mindlessly as an example to them. Children, teens, and young adults are not as aware of the influence technology developers have on our brains and they deserve a meaningful life just as much as prior generations.

Image Credits
Feature Image: Shutterstock.com
In-Post Image: Shutterstock.com
Author

Contributor : Dr. Keith Kantor (Consumer Health Digest)

This Article Has Been Published on October 23, 2018 and Last Modified on October 23, 2018

Dr. Kantor has been an advocate of natural food and healthy living for 30 years. He is also on the Board of Directors for NAMI.org in Gwinnett. NAMI is the largest non-profit in the United States dealing with Mental Illness including substance abuse. He has a Ph.D. in Nutritional Science. He has also written three books (see http://www.drkeithkantor.com and http://www.namedprogram.com ). Dr.Kantor has also been on several hundred Radio shows, T. V. shows, Newspapers, and Magazines, speaking on how to live a healthy lifestyle. You can Follow him on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Twitter.

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