Anxiety, Depression, Social Media

Social Media Making You Depressed? Here’s How You Can Prevent It

Please don’t say “It’s because of your BPD” all the time. My opinion matters even if it doesn’t line up with your opinion. I am not my diagnosis

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Research has long suggested that using social media too much can be linked to anxiety and depression. A 2017 study even suggested that Instagram is the worst culprit in making people depressed, which is due to the large feed of perfectly edited and filtered photo’s making it easier to draw comparisons to your own life. With this being increasingly common knowledge, who can be surprised when they see those long-winded posts about people deactivating their accounts and going on a social media detox? We call them attention seeking. We roll our eyes and tut when we see the post. “You’ll be back in a day or two” we say. But maybe a detox is just what we all need, particularly when more and more of us are suffering with mental health issues.

Psychologists say that it’s human nature to need to communicate, and technology has made this so much easier for us to do. Social media has allowed us all to communicate with ease and without even needing to leave our home comforts. We can now talk to more people than ever before, and most of us have that online friend we’ve never met but talk to everyday. But social media comes with its downsides, leading us to compare our lives to that of other people and it’s making us anxious and depressed. It’s making us feel inadequate as people. “Katy goes to the gym everyday and eats healthy like, all the time. I’m not good enough” – this is something many of us have undoubtedly thought during our many scrolls through social media, and it’s a negative thinking pattern we need to snap ourselves out of. Here are some healthy tricks you can adopt to make your online experience much less traumatic:

  1. Turn off your notifications: We’ve all been there, that moment when you’re busy working and your phone flashes up with a new comment on Facebook from your friend. We instantly stop what we’re doing and we check the comment and respond. The constant notifications from social media make us anxious to know what’s going on and to never miss a moment. Our anxiety levels rise when we see a notification, triggering us to respond instantly. Instant communication has become a beautiful thing, but it can’t hurt to enable “do not disturb” when we’re busy so that we don’t become distracted and can get a break.
  2. Hide your apps: This is a handy tip for those of us who are instantly drawn to our social media apps when checking our phones. Place your apps in a separate folder, not on the home screen, so that they are “out of sight, out of mind”. To stop us becoming mindless, anxious addicts who depend on social media we have to make it that little bit harder for ourselves to check in.
  3. Set aside time to check in: Set yourself 5 minutes every hour where you can check your social media accounts, set alarms to keep you between the time allowances and don’t allow yourself to open those apps outside of that 5 minutes. You’ll very quickly realise how much time you was wasting on social media and you’ll find yourself doing more productive tasks. It’s all about making us less dependent on these social media apps, we have actual lives we could be living.
  4. Hit that unfollow/mute button: We all have those accounts on our feeds that just make us feel down about our lives. We compare our lives to those seen on social media and it’s making us feel pretty crappy. Find those accounts that are making you feel down and unfriend/unfollow them, or if you’re close to the person you can simply mute them to make things less awkward – you can even mute Instagram stories now.

You don’t need to go on a complete social media detox to preserve your mental health, simply following these tips can help you to become less dependent and feel a little happier about yourself. Nobody wants to leave social media for good, but I think we’d all like to limit our use of it a bit more so that we can lead more fulfilling lives that don’t rely on someone liking a photo we shared. Use social media to enhance your life through communication with friends, don’t become a mindless and depressed social media junkie who doesn’t do anything else but scroll through and like everyone’s posts.

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