Young people today come home from school still bombarded with happy faces slimmer bodies and others having more fun than them all from that magic rectangle that sits in our pockets
It used to be that home time after school stopped the social comparisons for the day but now there’s no escape for a young person addicted to social media they are experiencing this literally all day every day
That even includes being in the toilet in the shower commuting eating going to sleep all of these moments are supposed to be peaceful times of self-care
What is this doing to us what the effects of social media on mental health are?
Do you remember life without social media, one thing I do remember from primary school and the early years of high school was that everyone seemed present in the moments.
We didn’t have notifications to check all we had was real life but this started to change when we all got smartphones, maybe this is similar to what you remember I’m also going to include what I believe is the ultimate technique for anyone that wants to improve their mental health.
There’s a certain lifestyle you can follow which will increase your positive mental health body image and productivity all whilst reducing distractions in your life like social media.
Effects of social media on mental health illnesses have been increasingly reported over the last few decades and this lines up quite well with the increasing use of social media.
Firstly is this data accurate is the widespread prevalence of social media actually causing more people to suffer from negative mental health. There is actually the same number of people with negative mental health but just more and more people are coming out and reporting it and talking about it.
This honestly could be the case it’s finally becoming widely acceptable to admit mental health problems and people are getting encouraged to speak about it to have chats with loved ones.
So is it actually that over time there are more people with negative mental health or just that more people are speaking about it and so it seems like it’s more common.
This is one of those questions that can’t really be answered accurately because we just can’t know how many people had mental illnesses before it was acceptable to talk about it.
The statistics and data that we do have would have been massively underrepresented because say 100 years ago, not many people would have admitted mental health problems so it would have been under-reported.
Mental illnesses were something that people kept to themselves for fear of seeming crazy increased negative mental health over the recent decades could have also been caused by different factors like recessions and pandemics.
So if we can’t get an accurate understanding of the effects of social media on our widespread societal mental health what about on an individual level then it’s a lot more clear.
Social media use is linked to poor sleep, low self-esteem and poor body image this all leads to higher levels of depression compared to boys girls generally seem to suffer higher levels of depressive symptoms.
Girls and boys who were on social media for longer than five hours a day had a 50 and 35 respective increase in depressive symptoms compared to those that only limited their use to under three hours.
I know five hours of daily social media use may seem unrealistic to some people watching this but honestly, five hours a day isn’t that far-fetched for the younger generation 90% of teenage girls reported being unhappy with how their bodies looked.
Why because all they’re seeing are these models with photoshop pictures on Instagram everyone is using facetune every male fitness model is getting a pump before the picture to make himself look bigger and then his photographer slash editor photoshops his muscles that he’s even bigger.
These social comparisons are deadly they’ll make you feel like you’re far behind everyone else but it’s all fake and it’s not good for us we should consider taking action to stop experiencing this negativity in our lives.
How would you like to half your stress levels just quit Facebook for seven days? This is what a Danish study of over 1000 participants saw a 55 reduction in stress for the participants who just quit Facebook for one week.
This is supported by another study I found of university students who were made to limit their Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat use to under 10 minutes a day for each one these students saw a significant reduction in loneliness and depression and that is so interesting your loneliness goes down after quitting social media.
So it really seems to be the case that less is better ask yourself do I value social media higher than my mental health if the answer is no start taking proactive steps to improve this area of your life my suggestion get on a long term dopamine detox.
This is where you drastically reduce instant gratification like social media and you drastically increase delayed gratification like exercise and meditation this long-term dopamine detox will completely restructure your priorities and therefore what you experience in life.
Although the negative effects of social media on our mental health are quite significant it seems to be the case that you can reverse these effects quite quickly just one week without social media and you’ll feel a significant difference that’s amazing I can personally vouch for this.
When you quit social media you won’t even want to go back after some time you realize that you’re not even missing out on anything you’re missing out on depression and poor body image that’s what you’re missing out on.
If you use social media quite a lot consider a dopamine detox it’s like a step up from a basic social media detox treat yourself like you are your own best friend therefore encourage yourself to stay away from stuff that’s not good for.