6 ways social media affects our mental health

1. It's addictive

There is some evidence that social media addiction exists. For instance, addiction criteria such as the neglect of personal life, mental preoccupation and escapism appear to be present in some who use social media excessively.
Other studies have confirmed that people tend to experience the psychological and physiological symptoms of withdrawal when they stop using the internet.

2. It triggers more sadness, less wellbeing

The more we use social media, the less happy we seem to be. This may be due to the fact that social media conjures up a perception of social isolation.
In fact, a study found that social media use is linked to greater feelings of social isolation. The more time people spent on these sites, the more socially isolated they perceived themselves to be - which is one of the worst things for us, mentally and physically.

3. Comparing our lives with others is unhealthy

We fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others as we scroll through our feeds. We make comparisons in upward or downward directions - feeling that we are either better or worse off than our friends. Both types of comparison make people feel worse which is surprising, because in real life, only upward comparisons makes people feel bad. In the social media world however, any kind of comparison is linked to depressive symptoms.

4. It can lead to jealousy - and a vicious cycle

The comparison factor in social media leads to jealousy and it can become a vicious cycle. Feeling jealous can make a person want to make his own life look better and post jealousy-inducing posts of their own. This leads to an endless circle of one-upping and feeling jealous.

5. We get caught in the delusion that it will help

Part of the unhealthy cycle is that we keep coming back to social media, even though it doesn't make us feel very good. We think that using social media will help us, but it actually makes us feel worse, which comes down to an error in our ability to predict our own response.

6. More friends online is not being more social

Having more friends on social media does not necessarily mean that you have a better social life. There seems to be a limit on the number of friends a person's brain can handle and it takes actual social interaction to keep up these friendships. So feeling like you are being social by being on social media doesn't work, getting real social support is important. Virtual friend time does not have the therapeutic effect as time with real friends.

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