Sitting is the new smoking, according to health experts. Sitting is one of the worst things we can do for our health, given how many ailments it has been related to and how many people it seems to kill each year.
However, what we frequently do when sitting—mindlessly browsing through our social media accounts when we have a few minutes to spare—maybe even more alarming (or for some, hours). In terms of our collective psyche, it’s not the best habit, as we probably already know intuitively and as science is verifying.
Let’s have a look at impact of social media on our mental health.
Way Too Addictive
There is fairly strong evidence that both internet addiction and social media addiction may occur, while experts are not entirely in agreement on the subject. An analysis of prior studies on psychological traits, personality, and social media use was conducted by Nottingham Trent University.
Because some individuals who use [social networks] excessively appear to exhibit addiction criteria, such as neglect of personal life, mental preoccupation, escapism, mood-altering experiences, tolerance, and concealing the addictive behavior, “It may be plausible to talk specifically of ‘Facebook Addiction Disorder,'” the scientists conclude.
It Triggers More Sadness And Affects Well Being
We appear to be less joyful as we utilize social media more frequently. According to a study conducted a few years ago, using Facebook was associated with lower levels of both short-term happiness and life satisfaction. The more people used Facebook each day, the more these two variables declined.
The authors speculate that this might be because, in contrast to other solitary hobbies, Facebook evokes a sense of social isolation. Facebook appears to be a good resource for meeting these demands because it enables immediate connection, according to the authors.
The current findings show that engaging with Facebook may predict the opposite result for young adults—that is, it may undermine well-being, as frequent interactions with supportive “offline” social networks powerfully do.
People Start Comparing Their Lives With Others Which Is Unhealthy
Facebook users may not actually be socially isolated, but the comparing aspect contributes to this feeling. As we scan through our feeds, we get caught up in the comparison trap and start evaluating how we stack up against others.
One study examined how we compare ourselves to others in “upward” or “downward” directions, i.e., whether we think we’re doing better or worse than our pals.
It showed that both kinds of comparisons worsened people’s feelings, which is unexpected because, only upward comparisons—feeling that someone else has it better than you—cause individuals to feel unhappy. However, it appears that every comparison in the realm of social networks is connected to depression symptoms.
It Gives Rise To Jealousy
It’s no secret that the comparison aspect of social media breeds envy—the majority of people will readily agree that observing others’ idyllic vacations and well-behaved children makes them feel envious. The usage of social media undoubtedly causes envious feelings, according to studies.
“This amount of envy occurrences taking place on FB alone is amazing, offering proof that FB offers a fertile ground for invidious thoughts,” stated the authors of one study that examined jealousy and other unfavorable emotions while using Facebook.
They say that it can spiral into a negative loop where people always try to outdo one other and feel jealous, which leads to a never-ending cycle of one-upmanship and jealousy.
Forces People To Become Delusional
We keep returning to social media even though it doesn’t make us feel very good, which is a part of the unhealthy cycle. This is most likely due to a phenomenon called a forecasting error, in which we mistakenly believe that obtaining a remedy will improve our condition when, in reality, it worsens it.
In one study, participants’ feelings before and after using Facebook were compared. The participants in this study almost invariably felt worse after using it as opposed to persons engaging in other activities, as prior studies had revealed.
However, a subsequent study revealed that respondents typically thought using would make them feel better rather than worse. That turns out to be completely false, of course, and it sounds a lot like the pattern of other addictions.
No doubt social media is one of the most helpful things to exist but its negative impact on health is not good. It is better if people reduce its use and focus more on their mental well-being. After all mental health is as important as physical health.