When was the last time you were with family or friends and didn’t check your Facebook or Instagram feed? When you’re at a nice restaurant, do you pay more attention on clicking a picture of the food than eating it? When you upload photos, do you feel stressed if you don’t get a significant number of likes or comments?
Technology can be a great thing, but there is also a flip-side. The overuse of social media can have harmful consequences. Below are 6 ways in which social media can negatively impact your mental health.
1. Leads to Productivity Drain
While social media might help us connect more easily with others throughout the day, it can also distract our attention from the task at hand and get in the way of our productivity. If you’re working while checking the latest Facebook posts, you’re not entirely focused on the job you’re doing. You’re putting your work quality and accuracy at risk which, in the end, will drain your overall productivity.
2. Promotes Inactivity and Decreases Physical Activity
If you spend all of your free time on social media, not only will you be unproductive, you’ll be inactive as well. On top of that, people are also less inclined to go outdoors, even for a bit of fresh air and exercise. It’s important for your body and mind to break away from your social networks and get some physical exercise. Exercise increases endorphins and blood flow to the brain, which will keep you healthy, mentally and physically.
3. Creates Feelings of Inadequacy
Constant access to social media means you are always plugged into what everyone else is doing – all the time. So, you are constantly comparing ourselves to everyone else – all the time. But what you are actually seeing is everyone’s glamour shots, and then measuring yourself against it, leaving you feeling inadequate because of it. Remember, people often share ideal representations of themselves. It’s not exactly a fair comparison.
4. Makes you Feel Isolated
We might be getting ‘connected’ with our online friends every day, but waving hello on Facebook is not the same as meeting for a coffee and catching up in person. Thanks to social media websites, interaction with others has become effortless, but physically we are spending less and less time with others. When we don’t spend time in face-to-face communication, we lack physical connection, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
5. Leads to Anti-Social Behaviour
Spending all your time socialising online not only leads to isolation, but also takes away the time you would otherwise have spent socialising and meeting ‘real’ people in a ‘real environment’. More friends on social media doesn’t necessarily mean you have a better social life, and it takes actual social interaction (not virtual) to keep up these friendships.
6. Becomes Addictive
We now use social media to receive our news, play games, chat with friends, or simply kill time. People are spending so much time on social media websites that it has begun to interfere with the way they live their lives. Again and again, throughout their day, they feel the need to post something or check up on what others are posting. Studies have shown that all this use of social media can become addictive.
Using social media sites can be a rewarding experience and enhance a person’s life. It can help us find people we’d lost touch with years ago, advertise our businesses, bring awareness of specific causes, and it keeps us connected across the distance. However, studies have shown that the overuse of social media can be damaging to your mental wellbeing, and taking a break from time to time can help boost your psychological wellbeing. Try taking a little break, and see how it goes.
Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie likes to share her experiences and knowledge through her blog posts and has written for various online and print publications. When she’s not writing Annie likes cooking healthy new recipes and relaxing with a good book’. Twitter: Annie Button
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.