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  • Sara

Social Media’s Effects on Mental Health

We are surrounded by social media every single day, constantly consuming media at an alarming rate. Social media channels offer us the opportunity to stay connected with friends and family, update the people in our lives about what we have going on, celebrate one another, announce big news, and feel the world’s embrace during times of isolation and loneliness. It can be a powerful tool to help us feel supported and loved. However, it can also have detrimental effects. When we spend so much time on social media, we may start to compare ourselves to others and that can exacerbate mental health issues. Let’s walk through some positive ways to use social media and some boundaries that you should practice helping protect your mental health.

Social Media Pros and Cons

With social media being such a big part of our lives, it's no surprise that it can have an impact on our mental health. For some people, social media can be a great way to connect with friends and family. But for others, it can be a source of anxiety and stress.

Social Media Do’s and Don’ts:


- Definitely take the time to celebrate your loved ones or yourself when accomplishing something big in life. A lot of folks like to post about graduating, engagements, buying a house, and more. Take those moments to cheer on the people around you and feel joy in seeing others reach their goals.

- Try following accounts that you believe would be beneficial and healthy to keep track of. For instance, you could follow an account about smart investments and financial wisdom if you are looking to either stay on track with your finances or find information on financial literacy. You could also follow accounts that post about healthy recipes or creative exercises to help you eat healthy and stay active.

- Use social media to find groups that you share interests with. Some social media channels have ways for you to be a part of an online community that has a common interest, such as gardening, cooking, pop culture topics, and so on. Finding ways to connect with people about something that you care about can help you to continue to expand your knowledge on the topic, meet new people, and feel supported in your interests.


- Avoid staying connected with or following people who have a constant negative energy. Some people use social media as an outlet to express their troubles and worries, which can then impact your own emotional well-being. If you find that someone you follow consistently posts things that make you feel sad or upset, give yourself the opportunity to unfollow them. If you close with this person, consider encouraging them to get help and keep your discussions offline.

- Try not to spend too much time on social media. A lot of us use social media as a procrastination tool or avoidance strategy. If you find yourself scrolling when you have important things to do, remind yourself to take a break and focus on those tasks.

- As hard as it may be, try not to compare yourself to people on social media. Many accounts are made to help people’s lives look more ideal than they actually are, which perpetuates unrealistic standards and expectations. This is especially the case for body image. Remember, almost every social media influencer edits their photos.

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by social media, here are a few tips to help you stay balanced:

- 1. Take a break. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your mental health is to take a break from social media. If you're feeling anxious or stressed, take a few days off to clear your head.

- 2. Set limits. If you find yourself spending too much time online, set limits for yourself. Decide how much time you want to spend on social media each day and stick to it. Also, try not to browse social pages at bedtime so it doesn’t impact your sleep. Poor sleep can lead to a host of mental health problems.

- 3. Be selective. Not all social media platforms are created equal. Some are more stressful to use than others. If you find yourself feeling anxious negativing a platform, try another.

- 4. Connect offline. Social media should be used to supplement your offline relationships, not replace them. Make time to connect with friends and family in person.

- 5. Seek help. If you're struggling with anxiety or stress, seek professional help. A therapist can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Keep in mind that social media can have both positive and negative benefits. Check in with yourself often to make sure that you are doing what you can to avoid the negative impact that social media can have on your mental well-being.


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