Though it’s convenient and exciting to have the world at our fingertips, the global connectivity of social media doesn’t come without its drawbacks. Fortunately, there’s a way to incorporate social media into your life without completely compromising your emotional wellness. Let’s explore how:
As humans, we are physically unable to process the sheer amount of data we encounter every day. A 2021 study by the Pew Research Center showed that 31% of American adults are constantly online, while information scientists have determined that in 2011, Americans were consuming five times the amount of information they were in 1986. In the decade since, who’s to say how much our information overload has increased?
We’ve also come to see social media as a quick fix; when we’re lonely, we know that digital companionship is just a click away. When we’re hungry, we can quickly sort through recommendations on the nearest restaurants. However, spending too much time on social media can have deeply negative health impacts for us, both emotionally and physically. The average person scrolls through over 90 meters, or 300 feet, of content per day — that’s the height of the Statue of Liberty!
The Negative Impact of Social Media
It’s no secret that social media is inextricably linked with a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. Knowing the symptoms of these common mental illnesses can help you better identify instances in which it may be necessary to seek health help from a professional.
You may also be able to identify potential triggers for anxiety and depression stemming from social media. Do you feel shortness of breath and a racing heart when you open the Facebook app? Maybe logging on to Instagram and seeing bikini models and exotic vacation destinations makes you feel worthless and pessimistic about the future.
It’s only natural for humans to compare themselves with others. In the past, though, this comparison was limited to one’s close social circle and community. Now, social media has made it possible for everyday people to place their lives side-by-side with millionaires, celebrities, and influencers. Because most people only use social media to highlight the positive aspects of their lives, users may feel they’ll never achieve the “perfect life” they see on Instagram.
Taking a social media detox can help address these feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, and depression. When you’re not online, you’ll have to learn how to forge connections in the real world. You will also have more time to clear your mind, let go of comparisons, and reconnect with your hobbies and loved ones. Giving up social media for 30 days will benefit you tremendously and is a great way to sample a social media-free lifestyle. A month-long hiatus from social media has become popular practice amongst a handful of influencers and digital creators, who emphasize the importance of living a fulfilling life offline.
Making Use of Global Connectivity
Most of the models and influencers you see on social media choose to only highlight certain aspects of their lives. Chances are, they spend more time on planes and in makeup chairs than lounging on beaches and sipping fruity drinks.
The power of global connectivity means that we’re exposed to many influences each day, but it also means that sharing experiences isn’t necessarily shallow and selfies aren’t inherently vain. The whole model of social media was built on the idea of strengthening communities and forging new connections. Ultimately, with the involvement of advertising and for-profit business models, users have unfortunately largely become the product rather than the beneficiary of social media platforms.
When social media is harnessed with pure intentions, however, it can be an ingenious way of sharing adventures with far-off friends and relatives or connecting with people with similar interests. Besides the value of documentation for hobbyists, stepping up your social media game with fantastic photos is even a way to launch a career as a travel journalist or photographer.
Overcoming Social Media Confliction
With all the contradictory information circulating about social media, it’s easy to feel lost. On the one hand, it seems as if the only way to live a healthier lifestyle is to abolish all social media from your life. On the other hand, social media is an excellent tool for both work and entertainment, and it may be difficult to renounce it entirely for some individuals. In 2021, over 82% of the American population possessed a social media profile, and popular sites like YouTube are continuing to engage new users daily.
Writers, photographers, and other creatives may find themselves torn when it comes to using social media as a tool to help advance their profession. Why? It often poses a hindrance in terms of pursuing personal and professional goals.
The conflicted writer represents the epitome of the social media dilemma with which we are all faced. Will you learn how to strike a healthy balance when it comes to your social media usage? Or is going cold turkey and removing yourself from the grid the only possible solution? We think there’s always a happy medium, you just have to find it.
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