Today more so than any other time in history, we are closer than ever before thanks to the Internet. However, this can be a blessings and a curse. While social media can connect us with awesome people with those we may have never met before or keep us connected to those we cherish, some of us stay plugged in constantly and rely on social media to fulfill needs that should be fulfilled elsewhere. There has to be balance and a line drawn otherwise social media can be a detriment to our overall well being. People suffering from depression or anxiety may find themselves using social media as a resource to connect with others. This is fine as long as it is done in a healthy manner. This can look like finding online communities of people who are going through the same struggles as you are, connecting with a therapist and doing online therapy as well as researching about your conditions and ways to improve your self.
Relying too much on social media can have a negative impact on various areas of life. It can effect your:
- Self-esteem – relying on different social media platforms to bolster your self esteem can leave you depleted and always wanting more. Try using affirmations and reflecting on the good inside to boost your self esteem
- Human connection – while the Internet is a great way to connect with others we may not have otherwise had the chance to connect with, there is something to be said about physical connection. Try scheduling a date with a friend once a month to have some human connection so that you don’t feel so lonely.
- Memory – Social media can be great for looking back on memories, but it can also distort those images. Try keep a journal to keep an in depth picture of how you may have been feeling in that moment so you can see how you have grown over time.
- Sleep – Constantly checking social media can become an addicting habit. Try giving yourself a time limit of how long you’re going to peruse social media and try your best not to be on at least an hour before sleep. This will help you get a better night’s rest.
- Attention span – With so many things trying to catch our attention these days, social media may be the ultimate attention span overload. Too much social media may cause you to lose focus. If you find this happening try averting yourself to other activities such as reading a book or doing a puzzle to help you regain focus.
- Mental health – Too much social media has been known to cause or exacerbate mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. If you fin yourself becoming overwhelmed, maybe try taking a time out from social media. There is nothing wrong with just saying no.
This is not to scare you away from social media. In fact it can be a wonderful way to connect and reconnect with some wonderful people and explore new and exciting things, this is just to remind you that social media should not take over your life. Make sure that you aren’t relying on likes and retweets to boost your self esteem or that you aren’t staying up every night losing sleep following the latest gossip. Life has so many wonderful things to offer outside of the cyber universe, so try plugging in to that outside world for a change!
By Garcsa Brooks
Intern, Olive Branch Counseling Associates