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Social media

The rise of social media has meant that we as a global population are more connected than we have ever been in the history of time. 

However, our reliance on social media can have a detrimental effect on our mental health.

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Self-esteem

A study conducted by the University of Copenhagen found that many people suffer from “Facebook envy”, with those who abstained from using the popular site reporting that they felt more satisfied with their lives. 

Becoming more conscious of the amount of time you spend scrolling through other people’s online profiles could help you focus more on yourself and boost your self-confidence.

It’s so important for us to be able to communicate and forge personal connections with one another. However, it can be hard to do so when we’re glued to rectangular screens, becoming more acquainted with our friends’ digital facades than their real-life personas.

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology that assessed 5,208 subjects found that overall, regular use of Facebook had a negative impact on an individual’s wellbeing. 

Social media can be great for looking back fondly on memories and recounting how past events occurred. However, it can also distort the way in which you remember certain tidbits from your life.

We are guilty of spending far too much time trying to take the perfect photo of a visual marvel, all the while not actually absorbing the firsthand experience of witnessing it with our own two eyes.

“Getting worked up with anxiety or envy from what we see on social media keeps the brain on high alert, preventing us from falling asleep,” explained Dr Bono. 

“Plus, the light from our mobile device just inches from our face can suppress the release of melatonin, a hormone that helps us feel tired.”

Set yourself a strict rule of not going on your phone for at least 40 minutes before going to bed, and see if that makes a difference to the quality of your sleep. 

Attention span

While it’s incredible to consider the amount of information readily available at our fingertips thanks to social media, it also means that people have become far more easily distracted. 

If you’re unable to not check your phone for at least a few minutes, then you’d do well to practise exercising your willpower on occasion. 

In March 2018, it was reported that more than a third of Generation Z from a survey of 1,000 individuals stated that they were quitting social media for good as 41 per cent stated that social media platforms make them feel anxious, sad or depressed.

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Prune

Pruning some “friends” and adding a few motivational or funny sites is likely to decrease the negative effects of social media.

  • Information about the lives of Facebook friends affects people more negatively than other content on Facebook. 
  • People whose social media included inspirational stories experienced gratitude, vitality, and awe.

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Make sure interactions on social media don’t become a substitute for talking face to face. 

When used thoughtfully and deliberately, social media can be a useful addition to your social life, but only a flesh-and-blood person sitting across from you can fulfill the basic human need for connection and belonging.

Safely using social media

Using social media comes with mental health risks, but that doesn't mean it should be completely avoided. Experts recommend using these networking websites in moderation.

  • Set a timer for using social media or install an app that tracks how long you’ve spent on a networking site.
  • Real world activities that help you focus on your immediate surroundings and circumstances.
  • Read a book
  • watch a movie
  • go for a stoll
  • play a game
  • bake some bread

it's so easy to get lost for hours on social media, make the time to enjoy life.