Let’s begin this blog with an interactive question. How do you spend your leisure time? Tell us if it’s not scrolling social media all day long. Truth be spoken, phones are not a distraction, but social media is. We do not practice art, we do not go out for a run, we don’t do things we like; we rather spend our leisure time surfing social media. Tell us if it doesn’t feel familiar to you. Tell us, if that’s not an addiction you struggle with every day.
It won’t be the first time you must have heard that social media can be detrimental to your mental health. We will be telling you why, in this blog post –
It can make you have an existential crisis
Having an existential crisis is a universal experience that most of us have repeatedly. Although there is no prediction as to when it strikes you, social media can be one of the many triggers.
It can make you contemplate life – as to what you have accomplished so far, what you planned to achieve, what life was like a few years ago, and what life will be like a few years down the lane. From what we know, an existential crisis can mess with your mental health – especially if you have a few unfulfilled dreams to achieve. It can trigger sadness more than well-being when you begin to compare your life with others.
It can lead to jealousy and loss of individuality
As discussed before, social media can facilitate comparison, which not only causes an existential crisis but can also spark an unhealthy emotion of jealousy. This negative feeling can stem from many places, but particularly from dissatisfaction.
Furthermore, this feeling of jealousy can become a vicious cycle. A person feeling jealous in the first place can make their life look better on social media, further provoking feelings of envy in others. Not to mention, trying to act in a certain way that appeals to people but not to oneself can also lead to a loss of individuality.
It can harm the self-esteem
In one study published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour, it was noted that the longer time youth spent on social media, the lower self-esteem they had.
All negative feelings, such as jealousy, existential crisis and low self-esteem stem from the comparison that social media induces in the mind of the person. Social media websites such as Instagram tend to portray the happiest moments of life, producing feelings of inadequacy in the other person. Consequently, one may feel pressured to present a certain image of our life online which can cause anxiety and low self-esteem.
Can give rise to body dissatisfaction
Alternatively, social media can lead to body dissatisfaction which can affect self-esteem and mental negatively.
Even though social media didn’t give rise to beauty standards, it can contribute to spreading it further. Social media can expose individuals to pictures of celebrities, fashion icons and fitness models which can lead to the internalisation of beauty standards. This can cause dissatisfaction and body dysmorphia in individuals.
The internet can be cruel
Let’s face it, the internet is not the kindest place to be. People can be ruthless and cruel in the name of being expressive and honest. Being exposed to cruel, demeaning remarks and body-shaming on the internet can be detrimental to mental health as well as one’s personality.
At the end of the day, it is about finding the right balance
Even though social media can be great for networking and businesses, it cannot be denied that social media has had a significant impact on our mental health. While it has connected us in unprecedented ways and provided countless opportunities for self-expression, it has also exposed us to a multitude of challenges and risks. To maintain a healthy relationship with social media, finding balance and practising mindful use is crucial. This means being aware of the potential negative effects, setting boundaries, and prioritising self-care.
By incorporating mindfulness into our social media habits, we can harness the positive aspects while protecting our mental well-being. Ultimately, the key lies in our ability to navigate this digital landscape consciously and responsibly, ensuring that social media remains a tool for connection and inspiration rather than a source of distress.