Humans are highly social beings who rely on interactions with others to satisfy some of our most basic needs. People who have fulfilling relationships with family, friends, and community members are happier, have lower stress levels and fewer health problems, and live longer. While the internet and social media are relatively new, they have impacted our existence in ways most people would never have imagined, drawing praise and criticism. Proponents of social media point to how it makes us more connected, while critics point to the negative impacts on our mental health.
While there is not yet long-term research, preliminary studies indicate that social media and the internet impact mental health, including increased risk for anxiety, depression, loneliness and isolation, and addictive behaviors. At Harmony Hills, we offer mental health treatment programs to address many mental health disorders. Here, you can expect high-quality care designed to address your unique needs and goals for treatment. Contact us at 855.494.0357 to learn more.
Understanding How Social Media Impacts Mental Health
There is no denying that social media has its benefits, including helping us maintain relationships with friends and family, expanding community connections, increasing social support, increasing access to resources, and breaking down geographical barriers.
However, the negative impacts of social media on mental health also cannot be denied. Some signs that social media may be interfering with your daily life and harming your mental health include:
- You are using social media to avoid negative emotions such as boredom or loneliness
- Your symptoms of loneliness, anxiety or depression are increasing
- You consistently compare yourself with others on social media in a negative light or feel increasingly jealous of others
- You are being trolled or cyberbullied or are doing do to others
- More time is spent on social media than in real-time with friends and family
- You are engaging in risky behaviors or posting shocking photos to gain likes
- You are not managing obligations to family, home, or work
- Your sleep is being disrupted by social media use
Social media causes many people to become self-absorbed and more focused on creating an online image than on their everyday life. The fear of missing out (FOMO) causes people to check social media and respond to every notification incessantly, even in dangerous situations like driving.
Managing the Internet and Mental Health
The internet is a valuable and helpful tool for education, work, entertainment, social interaction, etc. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the internet has played an even more prominent role in our lives. Though many people are aware of the potentially harmful effects of the internet on mental health, they also feel reliant upon it in many ways. The good news is that there are numerous steps you can take to manage the adverse effects of the internet and social media use on your mental health.
If you are concerned about how your internet use is impacting your mental health, try following these tips:
- Turn off data connectivity while spending time with friends and family
- Turn off your phone at particular times, such as while at work, in meetings, or while driving
- Leave your device out of arm’s reach while sleeping
- Limit social media use to your computer instead of your smartphone
- Leave notifications on silent to avoid distractions
- Limit your social media use to a specific amount of time each day
Paying attention to when and why you turn to social media can help you identify and minimize unhealthy use patterns. You can also spend a few days identifying what content makes you angry or upset and what is uplifting or inspiring, and curate your content accordingly.
Call Harmony Hills to Learn More About Mental Health Treatment Programs
While there are countless benefits to the internet and social media, they also have potentially harmful impacts on mental health. If you are experiencing sadness, frustration, inadequacy, loneliness, isolation, stress, anxiety, or other negative emotions due to your time on social media, you need to reevaluate your internet use.
If you continue to experience these feelings after altering your use, a mental health treatment program can help identify the sources. Call 855.494.0357 to learn more about mental health treatment programs at Harmony Hills.