It’s hard to imagine life without social media. From Instagram to Whatsapp, It seems like everyone has an account of some type, and when someone tells us that they aren’t on Facebook it comes as a bit of a shock!
While it’s led to a more connected world, allowing us to stay in touch with old friends and make new ones, there can be a negative side to its seemingly everywhere presence in our lives.
‘The Facebook Experiment’, a 2015 study by the University of Copenhagen, showed that the longer you used Facebook the unhappier you felt, and taking a break led to increased feelings of wellbeing. Another study by two German universities, ‘Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users’ Life Satisfaction’, showed that social media could put us in a spiral of envy that led to us feeling like we weren’t measuring up.
Social media isn’t all bad, but it is worth taking care concerning how our usage impacts our mental health. Here are some simple steps that may help:
Appearances can be deceiving
It can be easy to forget that what we see on social media doesn’t always reflect reality. People often try to accentuate the positive and downplay the negative when posting about their life, whether that is giving the impression of perfect holidays or applying filters to their pictures. It can make us feel like failures for not measuring up—remember to keep things in perspective.
No substitute for reality
We can have hundreds, or thousands, of friends on social media and yet feel lonely or disconnected. Keep in mind that liking a post or updating a status will never replace real interaction. Next time you want to connect, it might be worth picking up the phone, organising a board/card game night, or going out for coffee.
Time to unplug?
If you find that the negativity sometimes present on social media is getting you down, or that your social media use is having a debilitating impact, don’t be afraid to take a break. It will still be there when you are ready to go back to it—even a few days’ break can make all the difference.