Two weeks ago was World Mental Health day. Though I don't consider myself an avid advocate on this issue, I am truly pleased about the recent progress made to raise awareness of mental health.
Our family, friends and work are all key contributors on our mental well-being. Yet, in today's digital age, where we spend a lot more time online, social media has undeniably made a significant impact on how we think and feel.
I have been reading a couple of articles about this and wanted to share interesting thoughts about some valuable and detrimental effects of social media on one's state of mind.
One pronounced benefit of social media is in the dissemination of information. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and others have made it possible to access information in just one click of a button with details being updated in real time.
Obviously, social media when used sensibly can be of a great purpose — to keep in touch with family and friends, pursue areas of interest, and share thoughts and ideas. And of course, it could be a simple way to relax and chill after a tough day.
However, there have been several studies suggesting that spending excessive time scrolling through social media postings might actually result in loneliness and depression. Why? one possible reason is that people often post on social media, photos that depict the highlights of their lives, showing edited images of themselves, their friends, dream places they have been, and even expensive items that they bought . A person who views these images might feel that, by comparison, his or her own life is inferior, even dull and could lead to one's feeling of discontent. And what about, fake news, cyberbullying and violent contents? all of which can add to one's anxiety and stresses of daily life.
While you cannot control the content on social media or what others post or comment, you can control what you read and the kind of stuff that you see on your newsfeed. Think about it, in real life, you wouldn't let someone leave their junk in your own house, right? Then why allow these toxic bits to be part of your social media life?
Question that may be worth asking yourself is "do you follow things that help or harm your mental health?" If there’s a particular person or page that makes you feel annoyed, upset or down, would it be wise to block or unfollow it? Instead of gazing at feeds that bring you to a place of self-doubt or negativity, find things that lift you up and make you feel good about yourself. Doing so may just give yourself (and your mind) a favour.