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Effects of Social Media on Mental Health & Wellness

Posted by Johnson Memorial Health on Dec 22, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, have become very popular. One in four people worldwide are using some sort of social media to interact with others. With the uprising of social media sites, there have been many recent studies on the effects of the sites on mental health and wellness.

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Addiction

The use of social media has become so high that some researchers came up with an addiction rating scale. The researchers say that most people long into Facebook once a day, and many of them log in multiple times. It's not a surprise since most people are logging in with their smartphones, which makes it easy and readily available every time you are bored. But, how do you know if just checking in is more than something to do when you are bored? Click here to see the questions and more information on the addiction.

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Negative Impacts

Of course, most people who use social media want to put their best foot forward. Often, this means they are presenting a skewed view of their life that is all about happiness and achievements. This can lead their friends to compare their own lives to this "perfect" scenario which can have a negative impact on their emotional well-being.

A recent study also found that people reported a difficultly relaxing and sleeping after perusing social media sites. More than half of the people in the study reported feeling anxious or worried about their encounters or their inability to access the social media accounts if they were down.

Social media makes it tempting to be unproductive at work or home. Not only can it distract you from what you should be doing, but it can lead to missing out on other important things, such as exercise. The need to be connected all the time, which sounds innocent, is actually a detriment. Our brains need time to relax and recover, and social media does not help with that, but exercise would!

Positive Impacts

Many studies point out the negative impacts of social media on mental health, but some say there could be positive impacts. Social media could be used to spread happiness. Posting happy, encouraging, and uplifting posts may lead others to do the same.

The original goal of social media sites was to create an easy way for people to connect to others. This is a good tool for friends or family who don't live nearby to keep up with what is happening. Hearing from our friends and family makes us feel important and loved.

Another positive impact could be the ability to help identify certain mental illnesses. One in particular is social anhedonia which is the inability to enjoy normally enjoyable activities.

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Topics: Wellness, Health Care, Mental Health