How does social media affect your mental health?

Social media platforms are great, however social media platforms have created a culture of instant gratification via likes and popularity contests. It’s very obvious that this kind of culture can be extremely harmful, and social media has been focusing on curbing the use of comparison behaviors and feelings that are associated with the popularity of having your content viewed. Just a couple of years ago Instagram began discussions about removing the ability to “like” posts, in an effort to end popularity contests on the platform.  We talked with therapists in Palatine IL such as the ones available at the Lotus Welness Center to discuss if social media is negatively impacting your life.

Social media is a very reinforcing tool because it activates the reward center otherwise known as releasing a feel-good chemical called dopamine, and oftentimes social media is designed to be addictive. It’s part of the culture. The Pew Research Center suggests that 69% of adults and 81% of teens are addicted to social media today, and because this large population of people enjoy and may have an addiction to social media, this leaves them with an increased risk of feeling anxious or depressed over their social media use.

It’s the same concept as gambling. And in fact, that is exactly what is so addictive but social media, just like with a slot machine but you never know if you’re going to get the money that playing the game, but you might and that enough keeps coming back, the promise of a photo getting the user likes is enough to keep somebody using social media even if it’s something that makes him incredibly anxious or depressed. And that is because you can never know how well something is going to perform on social media until you do it, and the issue at hand is that when you become so focused on the likes and the views and you get depressed if you do not meet your goal whatever arbitrary goal that is.

How can I better myself and not allow social media to affect my mental health so much?

Using social media can interrupt your ability to communicate in person with people, so if you can limit when and where you are using social media, you may find yourself feeling better about your life. It’s a great idea to give yourself specific times and I schedule every day you are a logical scroll in social media but that ends at a certain point, you should commit to these schedules that you are creating. You should also commit to not checking social media during meals, if you are with friends or family when playing with children, or talking with a partner. Furthermore, you should ensure that social media is not distracting you from work.

Is it a good idea to detox from social media?

It is a good idea to detox from social media, and any good therapist in Palatine IL is always going to tell you that you can cut back on your social media use. You can fill in the most immediate signs of lower stress levels and higher satisfaction with your life as it is. The idea is that you are no longer focusing on other people’s lives in trying to compare yourselves to things there post on social media, and as it is very rarely true, it takes 15 seconds to take a photo and in those 15 seconds someone’s life might look perfect.