Can social media be bad for our mental health?
Some studies have found that social media use can impact our mental health, particularly in young people. Research has also shown that using social media can affect how well we sleep, which can also have an impact on our mental wellbeing.
There’s also some concern about the amount of time some people spend on social media. Some studies have called this ‘social media addiction.’ This is a constant urge to check your social media accounts, so much so that it affects other areas of your life such as work, school, or relationships. It’s thought that having an intense relationship with social media can make you feel less satisfied with your life.
What are the positives of using social media?
While lots of research focuses on the negatives of social media, there’s also evidence to show it can benefit our wellbeing. Some studies looking at social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram have found that users of all ages felt an increased sense of social support.
Social media can also help us to stay in touch with friends and loved one. And it can also help us to learn new skills, and connect with other people with shared interests.
What is healthy social media use?
Healthy social media use is likely to be different for us all. For some people, regular use of social media might impact their mood. But this won’t be the case for everyone. It’s a good idea to try and find a balance that works best for you.
Try being more mindful of the content you’re viewing, and the time you’re spending on social media. It’s also important to remember that you have a choice whether you engage with social media or not. And, it doesn’t have to control your life.
How can I set healthy boundaries with social media?
Here are seven ways to help you have a healthier relationship with social media.
1. Be selective of who you follow
If you’re feeling low after spending time on social media it might be time to look more closely at the accounts you’re following. Unfollow or ‘mute’ accounts that annoy or upset you, or that make you feel bad in any way.
2. Avoid comparing yourself to others
Comparing your own life to those that you see online can make you feel low. Try to remember that what we see on social media isn’t always true to life. And everyone has good and bad days, but we don’t often post our bad days online.
3. Set time limits
One of the best ways to keep your relationship with social media healthy is to limit your use. Many phones now have settings where you can ‘lock’ certain social media apps after a length of time. This can be useful for limiting your time spent scrolling and make you more aware of how much screen time you’re having.
4. Switch off
Another way to help you limit your use of social media is to turn off your notifications. It can be distracting hearing alerts arriving to your phone and can make it more difficult to have time away from a screen. Silencing these alerts can help you be more present in your life offline.
5. Give back
If you’re passionate about a cause, why not use your social media presence to promote it? This can be a great way to support charities and help give back to the community.
6. Connect with your interests
If you’ve got a hobby that you enjoy, or there’s something you’d like to learn more about, social media can be a great tool. Follow accounts you’ve got shared interests with and use social media to grow your knowledge.
7. Focus less on likes
Some people might find that the number of likes they receive on photos affects their mood. Why not try ‘hiding’ the number of likes you receive on Instagram by changing your settings. This might help to take your focus off the numbers.