Updated: Apr 23, 2020
While the majority of us enjoy spending time on social media it is important to note that excessive use can lead to us feeling low, anxious and depressed.
We as humans are a social bunch. We thrive on emotional, physical and social connections with others. Having a healthy social life can boost our moods drastically.
However, if we have a lack of social connection it can lead to us feeling lonely and isolated.
There is a very strong link between our mental health and our social connections.
In today’s society many of us use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube to stay in contact with people who may live abroad or with people who may live two minutes away.
While this has its benefits, social media should not take the place of 'real world' social contact with others.
If you are experiencing feelings of loneliness, isolation, anxiety or depression through the excessive use of social media it may be worth looking and re-examining your social media habits.
Positive aspects of social media include:
Allowing us to connect and communicate with people living far away from us
Excellent platform for self-expression and self-identity
Can be used as an educational tool if correct accounts are followed.
Make and maintain friendships and relationships
Negative aspects of social media:
Increased anxiety and depression
Interruption of regular sleep patterns
Low self-esteem issues when comparing yourself to other peoples ‘perfect’ lives or body images.
Increased opportunities for cyberbullying.
These negative qualities make people feel unimportant and get people questioning their own self-worth.
These negative feelings have a damaging impact on your mental health and over all wellbeing.
The constant influx of perfectly filtered and edited photos that appear online are bound lessen a person’s self-esteem.
Remember, people usually only post about the good things happening in their lives so it is important to be mindful of that when you see what other people are sharing online. It’s not real life, but it’s easy to forget that.
Signs that social media is affecting your mental health:
Spending more time ‘virtually’ hanging out with friends than in real life
Constantly negatively comparing yourself to others you see on social media
You have experienced cyber bullying
Not being able to focus on your home, school or work life
Having no time for self-care
Engaging in risky or out of character activities in order to gain ‘followers’ or ‘likes’
Having symptoms of anxiety or depression
Poor sleep routine
How to reduce time spent online to benefit your mental health:
Track your screen time – Set a daily limit on your phone where you give yourself an allowed time to be online.
Leave phone out of bedroom – Get into the habit of leaving smart devices away from the bedroom before you go to sleep.
Turn off social media notifications – This lessens the temptations of checking your social media accounts when you see a notification appear.
Phone free time – try to spend some time away from your phone during the day. Maybe begin with 15 minutes, then 30 minutes and gradually build up to longer times. Instead focus on a hobby or set aside some time for self-care or meditation.
If you need further support remember to let us help you here at #talktotom. We can be your guide - contact us on (0818) 303061or via WhatsApp. To launch a chat now click here. You can find out more about our counselling service here.
Other services you where you can reach someone to talk to are:
Samaritans offers a 24 hour listening service over text message, text 'Hello' to 087 260 9090 to get started (standard text messaging rates apply) or call 116 123 to talk to someone over the phone.
Childline text and instant messaging services are available from 10am - 4am every day to young people under 18, text 'Talk' to 50101 to talk to a trained counsellor by text message or call 1800 66 66 66.
Visit Your GP:
We always recommend that you visit your GP if you have not been feeling like yourself in any way. Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. Your doctor is a professional health care provider and will be familiar with how you are feeling. You mental health is just that - your health. You would visit your GP if you had been feeling physically unwell right ? Your emotional health is just as important as your physical well-being - in fact the two go hand in hand. If you don’t have a current GP you can find a list of services in your area here. You can also contact the CareDoc service on 1850 334 999
Contact the Emergency Services:
If you are an immediate danger to yourself and are going through a suicidal crisis please contact the emergency services by dialling 999 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.