Mental health does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, rich, poor, famous or not. Mental health is a global public concern, effecting over 450 million people. The reasons can be many, from poor eating habits, drugs, alcohol, unhealthy relationships. It could be a combination or a direct result of not getting enough rest, consuming too much tech or social media usage. Whatever the reasons, in many instances (not all), it comes from our lifestyle, the choices we make…therefore people can empower themselves to either ovoid or rebound from mental illness, by changing their lifestyle habits and or seeking professional help. This article sheds light on the social media usage that has taken the world by storm, with unfortunate consequences. Social media, like anything else should be used in moderation so that you don’t succumb to desperation.
More friends on social media doesn’t mean you’re more social
A a few years ago a study found that more friends on social media doesn’t necessarily mean you have a better social life—there seems to be a cap on the number of friends a person’s brain can handle, and it takes actual social interaction (not virtual) to keep up these friendships. So feeling like you’re being social by being on Facebook doesn’t work. Since loneliness is linked to myriad health and mental health problems (including early death), getting real social support is important. Virtual friend time doesn’t have the therapeutic effect as time with real friends.
All of this is not to say that there’s no benefit to social media—obviously it keeps us connected across great distances, and helps us find people we’d lost touch with years ago. But getting on social when you have some time to kill, or, worse, need an emotional lift, is very likely a bad idea. And studies have found that taking a break from Facebook helps boost psychological well-being. Try taking a little break, and see how it goes. And if you’re going to keep “using,” then at least try to use in moderation.
It can lead to a vicious cycle of jealousy
It’s no secret that the comparison factor in social media leads to jealousy. Most people will admit that seeing other people’s tropical vacations and perfectly behaved kids is envy-inducing. Studies have certainly shown that social media use triggers feelings of jealousy. The authors of one study, looking at jealousy and other negative feelings while using Facebook, wrote that “This magnitude of envy incidents taking place on FB alone is astounding, providing evidence that FB offers a breeding ground for invidious feelings.” They add that it can become a vicious cycle: feeling jealous can make a person want to make his or her own life look better, and post jealousy-inducing posts of their own, in an endless circle of one-upping and feeling jealous.
It triggers increased sadness
The more we use social media, the less happy we seem to be. One study a few years ago found that Facebook use was linked to both less moment-to-moment happiness and less life satisfaction—the more people used Facebook in a day, the worst it became. The authors suggest this may have to do with the fact that Facebook conjures up a perception of social isolation, in a way that other solitary activities don’t. “On the surface,” the authors write, “Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling such needs by allowing people to instantly connect. Rather than enhancing well-being, as frequent interactions with supportive ‘offline’ social networks powerfully do, the current findings demonstrate that interacting with Facebook may predict the opposite result for young adults—it may undermine it.”
In fact, another study found that social media use is linked to greater feelings of social isolation. The team looked at how much people used 11 social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, Snapchat and Reddit, and correlated this with their “perceived social isolation.” Not surprisingly, it turned out that the more time people spent on these sites, the more socially isolated they perceived themselves to be.
Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, wrote an editorial in the Washington Post last summer lamenting the Pandora’s box she and her husband helped open. “I spent my career in technology. I wasn’t prepared for its effect on my kids,” she wrote. “Phones and apps aren’t good or bad by themselves, but for adolescents who don’t yet have the emotional tools to navigate life’s complications and confusions, they can exacerbate the difficulties of growing up.”
Early this year, big players formerly of tech companies such as Google and Facebook created the Center for Humane Technology and, in partnership with the nonprofit organization Common Sense Media, launched a full media and advertising assault on the very industry they had a hand in building. Their initiative, the Truth about Tech, is pouring millions of dollars into an effort to warn parents, teachers and students that the technology they use is in fact engineered to addict them.