The rapid growth of social media has meant that we as a global population are more connected than we have ever been in the history of time. Networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others have established an entirely new medium for human interaction.
Moreover, it has been predicted that by 2021, there will be around 3 billion active monthly users of social media. Hence, from the statistics alone, it is clear that social media has become an integral (and largely, an unavoidable) part of our lives.
Impact of Social Media on Mental Health
However, our reliance on social media is causing a detrimental effect on our mental health. Multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts.
Increased use of social media can often lead to:
Inadequacy about your life or appearance
Even if you know that images you are viewing on social media are manipulated, they can still make you feel insecure about how you look or what is going on in your own life. Similarly, we are all aware that other people tend to share just the highlights of their lives, rarely the low points that everyone experiences. However, that does not lessen those feelings of envy and dissatisfaction when you are scrolling through a friend’s photos of their vacation or reading about their exciting new promotion at work.
Fear of missing out (FOMO)
While FOMO has been around far longer than social media, sites such as Facebook and Instagram seem to exacerbate feelings that others are having more fun or living better lives than you are. The idea that you are missing certain things can affect your self-esteem, trigger anxiety, and fuel even greater social media use. FOMO can compel you to pick up your phone every few minutes to check for updates, or compulsively respond to each and every alert—even if that means taking risks while you’re driving, missing out on sleep at night, or prioritizing social media interaction over real world relationships.
High usage of Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram increases rather decreases feelings of loneliness. While reducing social media usage can actually make you feel less lonely and isolated and improve your overall wellbeing.
Depression and anxiety
Human beings need face-to-face contact to be mentally healthy. Nothing reduces stress and boosts your mood faster or more effectively than eye-to-eye contact with someone who cares about you. The more you prioritize social media interaction over in-person relationships, the more you are at risk for developing or exacerbating mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Being bullied on social media and being subjected to offensive comments has nowadays become a common thing. Social media platforms such as Twitter can be hotspots for spreading hurtful rumours, lies, and abuse that can leave lasting emotional scars.
Sharing endless selfies and all your innermost thoughts on social media can create an unhealthy self-centeredness and distance you from real-life connections.
Importance of Mental Health during COVID-19
Looking after your mental health is always important, especially now, when the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty that has risen along with it. Fear, worry, and stress are normal responses during such times, and this can be especially true for those who are spending most of their time on the internet, where there is little escape from negative news.
Added to the fear of contracting the virus in such a pandemic, are the significant changes to our daily lives, as our movements are restricted in support of efforts to contain and slow down the spread of the virus. Faced with new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues, it is important that we look after our mental, as well as our physical, health.
Using Social Media to Promote Mental Health
At Turiya Communications LLP, we understand the importance of mental health and safety. Hence, in this blog we are going to discuss ten ways through which individuals as well as businesses can use social media platforms to promote mental health:
1. Share Self-Care Tips
Social media is a prime place to share self-care tips with others. You can make videos or create picture posts to show how you care for yourself. Your ideas will inspire others to care for themselves as well.
2. Be an Example for Others
If you are positively talking about mental health, others will likely do the same. Use your platform to focus on positive vibes and lifting others up.
3. Post Your Story
Your life is inspirational. It is a matter of sharing your special experiences with others. They can be learning experiences or motivational experiences. Either way, you are helping others when you share your story. This is an amazing way to connect with others and spread mental health awareness in the process.
4. Lead a Healthy Lifestyle
Leading a healthy lifestyle inside and out is beneficial for you, but it can also benefit others. When other people see you posting about your healthy lifestyle online, it gives them encouragement to take care of their body and mind.
5. Lead a Healthy Lifestyle
Talking about mental health is very important. It helps us to not internalize and reach breaking points. We can lead steady, stable lives just by opening up to others about our mental health challenges. It gives others someone to relate to as well.
6. Pick Positivity over Negativity
There is no reason that anyone should spread negativity online. Technology is a beautiful creation, and it is our job to make the most of it. We can do this by helping each other and giving encouragement to each other. Make other people smile. Be positive.
7. Be Supportive and Not Judgmental
It is important to remember that your choices on social media affect others greatly. Do not spend your time online being cruel to people. Spend it supporting others. It is not your job to judge others online, so do not take on that role. Your negativity can affect someone else’s mental health in damaging ways. Use your platform wisely, and do not cyberbully.
8. Educate Yourself
There is so much to learn. Your education begins with you. If you want to know more about mental health, dedicate some time to research. Know the warning signs. Know the coping skills. You have all the resources you need via social media and online to find this information.
9. Use Social Media to Create In-Person Meet Ups
Connecting and networking with others through social media is an amazing way to make friends. Once you are comfortable with people you meet online, you might want to set up safe meetups. This gives you an opportunity to relate to people who are struggling in ways that are similar to you.
10. Start a Mental Health Blog
Another great way to spread mental health awareness is to start up a mental health blog. You can promote your blog through social media, and you can educate others on mental health through your writing of your own experiences.
In today’s digital world, it is crucial to raise and promote awareness about mental health and safety. During this COVID-19 pandemic, if you are feeling isolated and lonely, depressed and anxious, contact our communications agency Turiya Communications LLP today and we will help you in your mental journey.
Visit our website www.turiyacommunications.com to know more!