Social media and mental wellbeing: Follow, Like and Share

Carmen BryceBlog posts

Social media, the double edged sword. Love it or hate it, it seems like it’s here to stay and it’s constantly evolving.

While social media has been proven in some cases to have a negative impact on mental wellbeing, it can also aid communication and emphasises how important it is to start a conversation about mental health from a young age.

We are bombarded with so much information about what and who to be, what to look like and how to present ourselves to the world. It’s 24/7 and social media can become very judgemental

Recently, we as a society are more concerned about how we are perceived online through the persona that we set up for ourselves and most of the time, this persona is completely different from who we are in real life

This has been linked to anxiety, low self-esteem and depression with studies showing that young people experience a “compare and despair response when they constantly see friends social media posts” (Status of Mind Report, 2017).

The World Health Organisation (WHO), found a dramatic rise in the use of social media among all ages, with 91% of young people spending an average of 7 hours online daily.

The rise in social media use has resulted in an increase of everything, ranging from smartphone addiction, poor social skills, narcissism, cyber-bullying, sexting, cyber-predators,sleep deprivation, and desensitization. These behaviors have negative effects on adolescent brain development

With these concerns/threats to stability and mental well-being, coming from the onslaught of information we consume daily through social media, it is time to take more proactive measures to protect our mental health online.

Here are some tips on how to mind your mental health on social media:  

  • Take control, only allow content that motivates and inspires you. Remember, there is no obligation to engage in social media.
  • Don’t compare yourself with others. Social media contain photoshopped and filtered versions of who and what we think our life should be like. So, don’t believe everything you see online.
  • Reach for support when you need it. Pay attention how you feel before and after you have been on social media.
  • Surround yourself with positivity. Being happy and comfortable with yourself makes a difference in the choices we make and our outlook on life. So take time to re-evaluate and live in the moment.

As the saying goes: “everything in moderation”.Moderation is the key to living a balanced and healthy life. You can practise moderation by gradually reducing the time you spend on social media. Setting a time limit for yourself also helps.

If this is something that you struggle with controlling or you want to discuss further with a trained mental health professional, MyMind has Counsellors, Psychologists and Psychotherapists that can help you at any stage that you are at. You can get in touch with us at 076 680 1060 or email hq@mymind.org to talk to a member of our team.

Written by MyMind Intern, Cynthia Ebere-Anaba