Social Media and Your Mental Health
If you sit back and assess your activities properly, you will notice that a larger part of your time has been ínvoluntarily dedicated to social media use.
If however, you are not the social media type, a better observation of those around you may show that many persons use a better part of their time for social media activities.
The truth is, social media have come to stay. It has been largely corroborated and integrated into our daily life, our business enterprises, our families, meetings, academics, governments, news platforms, start ups, etc. In fact, the list is near endless.
In all of these, social media has been very imperative to our growth. Currently, businesses which hitherto had a hard time reaching hundreds of customers at a go can now reach millions of customers with no stress attached; families are united even in distance; news are just clicks away; meetings held seamlessly without leaving the comfort of the home; governments payments procedures, job applications and e-governance in general has become a reality and even almost becoming an old technology.
Let us not waste time defining social media; nonetheless, let us agree that Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, etc. satisfies our understanding of what social media is. But what is the relationship between social media use and mental health?
Mental health relates to the general wellbeing of a man. This means you may not be sick, but if you are depressed, your mental health is at stake. You may not be depressed, but if you are psychologically imbalance, your mental health is at stake. Thus, mental health is an all round healthy state of the mind that encompasses phychological health, physical wellbeing, emotional, social and possibly spiritual wellbeing of a man.
How does Social Media Affects Your Mental Health?
There are multifarious ways through which social media can affect your mental health. Let us however, restrict our understanding to the following ways:
Social media can be a source of envy that may affect and degenerate your mental health. It is possible to see your friends post their new ride, buildings or new purchases and it all look like you are just joking around. It is just normal, a feeling of envy may be sparked. If not curtailed, it may lead to depression. Some have even resorted to physical assault, harm or murder.
Social media can deplete your useful time if not used carefully. You entered Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and before you knew it, an hour has passed. Many relationships has been lost because of time spent on social media with little or no time to pay to partners.
3. Loss of Relationships
Social media has spoilt more relationships than any other factor in recent times. As you post your beautiful self, so men who hunt women for relationships makes you their target. When some comes with their offers, greed won’t allow many female folks to stay in one relationships. There is no gainsaying that broken hearts results in mental health challenges.
4. Relationship Attacks
If you watch your Facebook and possibly WhatsApp status well, you will notice that many female updates are targeted towards men. They post near nudes pictures to captivate your attention. If you are the womanizing type, you will be rightly served.
5. Spiritual Attacks
Although there is scarce material to prove how social media can be used for spiritual attacks, there has been insinuations and unconfirmed reports of social media spiritual attacks. Aside from this, many of the post we make online about how well we are doing also attracts bad bloods (bad minds) that brings some forms of attacks.
6. Media Trolls
Many persons who come online have their own specific challenges they are bearing. When these challenges are too much, people may vent their depression and anger on others. Celebrities are worst hit. Some other persons who do not know how to use social media as a reult of poor home background and illiteracy may also vent attacks on personalities online. All of these affect mental health of the victims.
7. The Virtual Life Factor
Many persons who are always online forget that they have families/friends offline. Many have become recluse as they always wants to be alone to satisfy their social media engagements. A time will come when loneliness will hit you because you hardly have anyone to have your time then.
8. Feelings of Inadequate Self-Image
You see social media, it can make you feel you are not man enough. When you see others posting what you cannot have in ten years, you begin to feel like you have not done enough. This happens as a result of using other people’s standard to judge yourself.
9. Fear of Missing Out
There are social media users that just dress in their homes and snap pictures everyday for uploads. Most of these persons do not have plans for tomorrow. They just snap to confuse the media and its onlookers. They cause great depression and fear of missing out for those who keep minding at them and not their business.
10. Depression and Loneliness
Studies have indicated that the more you prioritize social media relationships over in-person relationships, the more you are likely to develop mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
11. Sleep Disorders
The incessant phone notifications distort sleep time and make you a slave to your phone. Good sleep is very necessary for the human wellbeing. If sleep is in short, it can affect the overall wellbeing of a man.
In the Nigerian settings, ritualists have used social media to attract users and lure them to hotels or locations where they carry out their heinous activities. When this happens, it greatly affect the mental health of the victims if they survive it. It als affect those around them.
What Is Driving Your Social Media Use?
What is actually the cause of your use of social media? Fun, business or what? Well, if your use of social media is merely fun, then there is need for strict control before it involuntarily makes you a slave. But if however, it is business, then while understandable, there is also need to set time as business owners who use the media for their business operations are at higher risk. This is because there is no end to the acquisition of customers.
How To Make Good Use of Social Media for Improved Mental Health
Much depends on the user if social media must be utilized apprpriately. This is largely due in part that engagements will never end. Sellers/marketers, commedians, etc. are creating more contents that are even improved. So, it is up to you to modulate what you see. Many things may be important but not necessary. Below are some ways to maintain a balanced used of social media for improved mental health.
1. Learn to Celebrate Others
There is much good in celebrating when others are finding their ways for tomorrow, it will be our turn to be celebrated. Find joy in celebrating with those who have cause to celebrate.
2. Set Your Social Media Time
This is especially important for married couples if they want to save their marriages. You may set a time that as from 8:00pm upward, no more connectivity. Bedtime in most marriages have suffered tremendously as a result of social media use.
3. Keep Track of Relationships that Matters to You
As you become grossly involved in the use of social media, you may forget that you even have live friends and relations as you have become very convenient with your social engagements. Set time for yourself. Place a call to your dear friends. Some of them may actually be passing through a lot as you enjoy your social media companionship. Some friends were even dead without many close friends knowing as we have become dormant to each other even being in same social media platforms.
4. Keep Your Senses Online
If you are the kind of man or woman that get easily attracted online to stuffs, then you are likely to be in trouble soon. Too many beautiful women, rich guys, fine products, etc. You must keep your senses that you can never have it all.
5. Guard Against Media Trolls
As a media user, you should understand that everyone have their level of understanding. You are going to learn living with a wise man and a fool. You will also learn living with a learned man and an illiterate. You will learn living with all kinds of men according to their level of understanding. You will learn not to reply to everything that comes your way. If you reply all trolls that comes your way, you are sure going to get it hard from those whose status are not even up to you.
6. Build your Relationships
You have to start focusing on your relationships offline. Spending too much time online for mere social interactions brings too many persons into your life that may wobble the foundations of your future.
7. Do Not Use Other People’s Status to Judge Yourself
This is very important. There were those I used to admire and made my mentors. Today, I am now asking what made me to make those persons my mentor. I now feel they are no longer worthy to be my mentors. Build yourself, keep on working on your thoughts. Do not allow their good life make you feel bad or inadequate. We are all moving.
8. Time for Sleep should be Time for Sleep
Do not distort your sleep because of notifications. If permissible, silent your phone or switch it off. Make it a matter of principle.
9. Rather than feeling you are missing out, get yourself busy with tasks
Why worry over what you can’t change? Worry about the future that you can change, not people’s life which you do not have control of. Work on yourself if you feel you are lacking in something. Be a go-getter.
10. Social media girls, not even slay mamas are on the prowl
Little girls are wearing exciting clothes to attract the attention of the sons of Adam. You are going to be careful to know the plan ahead, otherwise, you may become too engrossed and entagled with them.
It is very possible to keep a balanced use of social media and also maintain a good mental health status. But to attain it, there will be concerted and deliberate effort on the part of users. Parents are also going to help youngsters get the best out of the media without much harm to their mental health. It is believed that with good media usage, our mental health will be balanced. This will in no doubt improved our quality contributions to the media world.
Robinson, L. & Melinda, S. M. A. (2020). Social media and mental health. Retrieved November 9th, 2020 from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/social-media-and-mental-health.htm