If you’re reading this, maybe you saw a post about this article on our Facebook or Twitter. That might be where you spend a lot of your time, and studies find that this might not be the best for your mental health. Constant stressors available at the touch of a screen could be a reason you aren’t feeling your best.
The use of social media is gaining popularity so astounding that people all over the world are utilizing this platform. Researchers have discovered that depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem may be linked to social media use. This is especially true for children and adolescents. But how is it interfering with our lives? And what can we do about it?
How Does Social Media Affect Our Mental Health?
The Internet In General
The internet is kind of a new phenomenon, one that is skyrocketing in popularity and capabilities. In the palm of your hand, you have the ability to learn almost any bit of information to satiate your curiosities, as well as scroll through hilarious memes all day.
When the internet was budding, researchers found that it may be starting a problem within the home. Before social media even existed, they found that an increase in time spent on the internet showed a decline in communication with family members as well as a reduction in social circles.
While people were still hitting up AOL chatrooms and playing chess online, there was evidence that this mirage of social interaction could be damaging to mental health. These researchers had no idea what was in store for all of us as technology began to advance.
Social Media Is Not So Social
With the increase in social media popularity, this means that there are more extended periods of time that people stick to the screen. Even though people have the ability to interact with a significant number of people from all over the world, the interactions are often shallow, and researchers have decided that it is an inadequate replacement of face-to-face interactions. This may be why researchers have found that an increase in depression is present when social media is used.
Social Media Is Our Own Personal Highlight Reel
This alternate society that we submerge ourselves into can also decrease our sense of wellbeing. This platform alters our perception of other people. When you are posting on social media, we usually only post our best moments. I got married! Here’s a new puppy! Look at our new house! We don’t usually post about our sad days, and we don’t take selfies while crying in the bathtub. This practice can cause people to become envious of other lives feeling that their own can’t add up.
Social Media And Self Esteem
This particular issue is absolutely inconclusive. On the one hand, researchers have found that the lower someone’s self-esteem is, the more time they spend online. However other studies show that things like Facebook actually increase self-esteem because of the way they portray themselves. But we all know that social media is more than selfies and humble bragging; social media has become an extensive news outlet that may also be contributing to poor mental health.
Social Media And Politics
Just pulling up my Facebook, the fifth status down was political. On my Twitter, it took nine posts to run into a politician in a video. In the midst of baby pictures and a well thought out diagram about the show The Office, the political climate has taken over a lot of real estate on social media platforms.
Whether you are a republican, democrat, or an independent, you can probably recognize the chaos that is happening in this country. A survey taken in 2017 showed that many people are starting to take the burden of our nation to heart.
Among these adults were people of all parties, and each side said that the future of our nation was causing them to have stress. 59% of adults say that the social divisiveness is causing them duress, 56% who follow the news report that it impacts their mental health, and 72% of people who follow the news believe that things are blown out of proportion.
On the flip side, 51% of the people surveyed said that the political climate and the availability of the news have caused them to do volunteer work. While having politics in our face at any given point of the day, it is causing people to become more aware of what is needed out of us as a society and making them act on it.
What To Do When Social Media Is Affecting You
While scrolling through your feeds, do you feel like you are on a rollercoaster of emotions? Do you feel like every time you open it, you wonder why you even got on there in the first place? This is extremely common, and there are solutions to helping you feel better when the world around you seems to be crashing down.
Take a break from social media. If you have to make an announcement online so people aren’t worried that you are dead, so be it. I can tell you from experience that people don’t really notice unless you are someone who is posting all of the time.
Taking a break from social media is taking a break from constant stressors. Even if it is a minimal amount of stress, it is still something that is badgering you each and every time that you log in, and it can slowly become a bigger problem. If a small drop of water continually hits the same point on a rock, over time, the damage will be noticeable. Get yourself an umbrella and block out the negativity for a while, you might feel a bit freer afterward.
Who are you following on twitter? Are you constantly bombarded with negativity? Having no income of positivity can make you start to see the world as a darker place which can be damaging to your overall outlook. If you must have the negative in your life, balancing it with positivity can help with the repercussions.
Take Care Of Your Mental Health
Do you already suffer from poor mental health? Social media could be making it worse, but taking care of the underlying problem will help it affect you less. Going to therapy and taking medication are two great ways to strengthen your mentality, one medication in particular that has shown to be effective in this aspect is CBD.
Strengthening Your Mental Health With CBD
CBD For Depression
If you have depression, seeing things that bring you down to the black hole of emotions might make how you feel even worse. Treating your depression can make you more resilient to the sad world around you.
Cannabidiol has shown in studies that it may act as a fast-acting antidepressant. Studies have found that in people who have depression there is damage to their prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. This damage is why you have continual negative thinking and poor emotional control. In a study where rodent models were given CBD oil, chemicals that are usually lacking in depressed patients were raised along with a chemical that helps repair brain damage all within just thirty minutes.
CBD For Anxiety
If you are a worry wart and every time you see a sad child in the news your heart breaks, and you can’t recover because you empathy is so powerful, CBD may be able to help strengthen your ability to stay clear headed. Social media has this ability to show us how outlandishly dangerous the world around us is, making your anxiety feed off of fears that may be overstated.
When you have anxiety, you are already feeling a sense of fear when there is no real threat present. This is because your amygdala and hippocampus aren’t working correctly. When you already have this sense of worry, seeing things on the news or seeing your friends go through traumatic experiences and post it online can make your symptoms worse.
This is especially true in the #MeToo movement. As someone who personally suffers from PTSD, seeing all of these stories of abused women has me terrified to walk out the door some days. But luckily, I take CBD.
Studies have shown that CBD helps to reduce the activity of the amygdala which is constantly sending fear signals throughout the brain causing anxiety. The repairing of the hippocampus may be able to help as well. CBD elevates an endocannabinoid called anandamide which helps regulate your mood, which may be beneficial to those of you who suffer from anxiety.
Talk To Your Doctor
If you suffer from poor mental health, or if the world is becoming too much for you, reach out to a medical professional. They can help guide you through your emotions and help you figure out what is going on in your head. If you want to start taking CBD as well, be sure to let them know. They can help you figure out if it will interact with any medications you currently are taking, as well as help monitor your progress to make sure this is the right treatment for you.
Have you realized that social media has been a bit much lately? What have you done to cope with the stress and emotions that it has caused you? We would love to hear what has worked for you in the comment section below!