Social media is making us feel more connected than ever before, particularly with those on the other side of the world, but, some worry that the more time we spend online, the less we’re likely to spend socializing IRL with actual humans. Certain studies have also drawn links between social media use and loneliness.
Recent research even highlighted an alarming link between social media and negative body confidence among young women. With all this in mind, going on a social media detox could potentially lower feelings of depression and loneliness, and make us feel more content in our own lives.
Social media is as addictive as drugs and alcohol
The first sign you may be in dire need of a social media detox is pretty obvious: you can’t put your phone down. This isn’t technically your fault, however, as we’re actually wired to become addicted to checking social media all the time. As clinical psychologist Melissa Hunt explained to Open Fit, “Social media use triggers the same brain systems that respond to novelty and pleasure in other contexts — including the same systems that respond to cocaine,” so getting likes or comments is, quite literally, addictive. If you still feel lonely or disconnected from life regardless, this could be another sign you need a break.
Likewise, if you’re constantly jittery and anxious, it may be because you’re constantly checking and re-checking social media, which is very rarely a stress reliever. Hunt advises, “[A detox] can make you realize how much better you feel once you get over the anxiety of missing out on things.” This is equally true of playing the comparison game when it comes to other people and their supposedly “perfect” lives, which also contributes to anxiety. The blue light from smartphone screens negatively affects our sleep, too.
Focusing on social media negatively affects mental health
There are other, more worrying symptoms, including physical pain in your wrists, hands, back, or neck. As a piece in Mind Body Green explains, your body can become physically dependent on social media, which is scary. There’s also the financial aspect to consider, if you’re feeling as though you need to buy things, or travel to exotic places, to project a more exciting life for your followers.
Putting way too much thought and effort into posts is another warning sign, as you’re likely stressing out over something that doesn’t matter in the long run at the risk of ignoring your own self-care needs. Focusing solely on social media means the rest of your life is potentially falling by the wayside, which could negatively impact your mental health. If you’re passionate about social media, great, but you should have other things, including relationships with real-life people, to focus on too. Otherwise, your entire self worth will be based on likes, views, and comments, which isn’t healthy in the long run, and taking a break can make a huge difference in your life.
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