How social media can affect mental health

Since a few years ago, social media has started to take more and more space in our lives and we became totally addicted. Unfortunately sometimes social media can affects mental health in a negative way. It can be very difficult to make the difference between real and virtual life when we spend too much time on it. With all this content created and shared every day, it’s really easy to start comparing ourself. Our photos, our life, or our body, or success. In someway, Instagram has created a new “norm” of perfect body or life. Sometimes, it’s easy to start comparing everything and finally not being able to enjoy the real life.

Also, social media are playing with the addiction to the likes that are like a reward for us. And the algorithm is making it harder and harder for creators to have their posts seen by their communities. And if we get caught by the game of numbers, it can really affects our mental health. You have probably seen the success série on Netflix “Black mirror” talking about how can social media drive us crazy! Today, everyone wants to become an “influencer” and the competition on social media is massive. There is a pressure to post more, improve the quality of our work, be more present on stories and so on.

I do think as “content creators” we have a responsibility to say the truth about social media. And agree that yes it can affects our mental health in a negative way. This is why I wanted to share this post, all the negative sides of social media and how to keep mentally healthy. I loved talking with you about this topic a few days ago on Instagram and I though it was time to write a real post about it. And also to share my personal experience and vision with you.

How social media affects mental health?

We become addict to “likes” like a reward

Social media are using the “likes” like a reward and we become totally addict to it. We are starting to spend more time on the app, posting more and playing the game to have more likes.

Mclean, a Harvard school affiliate, is explaining it really well. “It activates the brain’s reward center by releasing dopamine, a “feel good” chemical, linked to pleasurable activities. These platforms are designed to be addictive and are associated with anxiety and depression”.

Social media can really affects your mental health in a negative way if you pay too much attention to the amount of likes you receive. Because you will become totally addict to it. And unfortunately when the reach and likes will decrease it will have a negative impact on your moral.

We are comparing ourselves to other

It’s really easy to start comparing yourself to other on social media, because we are exposed to thousands of photos every day. So we can easily start to compare our lives, our body, our photos and pretty much everything… And this can finally makes us think that we are not enough.

But you need to remember that people on social media are only showing the best part of themselves and their lives. Everything is made to share good moments, beautiful travels and so on. But everything has a “normal life” between travels! Everyone is also walking their dog, cooking, cleaning their house, doing shopping groceries… You know what I mean? For me, Instagram is just a way to share beautiful places, motivate and inspire people to travel. But on the daily life, we are also doing the same things.

Concerning the body comparison that can really affect the self esteem, you need to know that girls on social media know exactly how to look good on pictures, what angles, poses, lights and so on. I have made a post on this, you should read it! “How to look good on photos, 10 tips”

Social media can really be time consuming

Another big problem of the social media is that we can easily find ourself scrolling infinitely. To watch stupid videos on Instagram, Tik tok or Facebook. There are so many content created everyday to entertain us that if we don’t pay attention, we can easily spend hours per day doing absolutely nothing but scrolling!

Funny videos, cooking recipes, cute dogs or make up tutos… The algorithm will find what you like and give you exactly what you want to see! It can also become really addictive and it’s a huge waste of time! It’s a time we could use to do concrete things in real life. Procrastination is a big problem of social media nowadays.

Also, many fake news are relayed on social media, it can be really dangerous if you get influenced by it.

Social media has a negative impact on mental health

Unfortunately, the comparison of our lives or body, the seek of likes or the time we are loosing on social media can really affects our mental health. It can provoques anxiety and depression. Especially on young girls and persons that are already sensible.

If you are interested on this topic, you can also read our post about the dark sides of Instagram. Here I’m talking more about product placements, competition, scams and so on.

Social media can be an amazing place to share and connect with people at the other side of the world. But unfortunately on the past few years it became different and it can really affects our mental health. This is why I wanted to give you a few tips to take a distance with social medias, use it in the right way and keep yourself mentally healthy.

How to keep yourself mentally healthy

Do a digital detox

The best way to keep yourself mentally healthy is to give yourself a digital detox. For example, one day per week, disconnect totally of social media, don’t take your phone with you, and enjoy your real life.

Go outside, connect with nature, go to the beach, to the mountains, a lake, anything that helps you to feel connected to the real life. Take time with the persons you love, your friends or family and have fun together!

Find a balance

Fix limits! If you are feeling like you are spending too much time on social media, fix limits. For example fix a number of hours per day of screen time. It can be hard sometimes when you are working on your phone, especially for community managers, content creators and so on. But if you manage to fix a number of screen time per day, you will find a balance between work and personal life.

You should never check your phone 1 hour after waking up and 1 hour before sleeping. The best thing I can advise you to do is to start your day with a few minutes of meditation and/or yoga. And especially to not check your phone immediately and in the evening. After 8pm, you should enjoy time at home and not spend time on your phone.

Remember that social media is not real life

One of the best tips I can give you is to make the difference between social media and real life. Sometimes you need to take distance and think about it to understand it. The photos shared on social media are just a real but a very small part of our lives. You don’t see us cleaning our home or doing shopping groceries but the rest of our lives are totally the same than anyone 😉

Take time for you

Instead of comparing what is not comparable, take time for you! Get a haircut, get your nails done, cook a healthy recipe, call your best friend, read a good book or watch your favorite TV show!

Follow our adventures and our life in Provence on Instagram @chiarabarrasso and @jelafaille but don’t forget to disconnect sometimes! Have a great day FAM!

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