These days, social media almost feels like a requirement. The endless apps, adorable videos, and photos of family and friends draw us in and lead us to spend hours upon hours glued to a screen. Social media benefits include connecting people to one another, sharing information, and promoting businesses, but many consumers find the flood of information overwhelming.
Social media has its place, and with some thoughtful boundaries, we can continue to enjoy its connective qualities while keeping our own peace.
Why is Social Media So Addictive?
People are intelligent. The mere fact that the internet was created and social media was fashioned out of nothingness is awe-inspiring. Why then, are people so vulnerable to social media’s invitation to endlessly scroll?
According to McLean Hospital, social media has a reinforcing nature that ties into the brain’s reward system. Much like the early humans hunted and gathered, social media is like a search for a ‘tasty’ nugget of information.
When a consumer finds a photo, video, or comment that is interesting or enjoyable, the brain releases dopamine. This leads people to continue searching for the next hit. Five minutes on Facebook turns into twenty-five minutes or longer. And it’s not your fault – apps are designed this way. Developers are encouraged to keep consumers on the app as long as possible, maximizing ad revenue and feeding the cycle.
Impacts of Social Media on Mental Health
Aside from dragging you away from everyday tasks, social media poses a tangible threat to users. Studies have shown correlations between the usage of social media and mental health illnesses such as anxiety and depression. This is partly because users see the best parts of others’ lives on social media and begin to doubt their success on their own.
Here are some quick social media facts:
18-24-year-old people check their phones an average of 74 times per day.
“Facebook envy” has been identified as a real reaction to seeing others’ success on social platforms.
The more time people spent scrolling through social media, the more they thought of themselves as socially isolated.
Social media (and phone usage as a whole) decreases sleep quality.
What Does Unhealthy Social Media Use Look Like?
Self-reflecting on the influences in your life is important, and social media is one of those influences! Here are some common unhealthy social media habits to consider.
Spending more time on social media than with friends or family.
Comparing yourself to others online.
Taking excessive time away from work to scroll on social media.
Posting to social media with the purpose of gaining ‘likes’ and attention.
Neglecting your self-care to scroll.
If you have any of these symptoms, changing your relationship with social media can lead to greater peace and comfort!
Ways to Bring Balance to Your Life
Once you’ve decided to make change your social media consumption, first identify the main platform you react negatively to. Apply the following practices to the platform you struggle with the most and work your way down from there.
Make social media less accessible to you by using time limits on the apps themselves or removing the apps and using the desktop computer to check social media.
Find accounts that trigger negative behaviors in you (such as comparison) and unfollow them.
Get outside and enjoy the fresh air with no screens for 15 minutes a day.
Ask yourself for the reason behind a new post. Are you doing it for a wholesome reason?
Make an effort to see people face to face.
Remember, social media can be an addiction, and decreasing your consumption is difficult. Give yourself a week or so in each ‘stage’ of your social media detox to allow your brain to re-adjust chemicals.
As you relax and put your focus somewhere other than social, you can cuddle up in a Benefab® Lightweight Body Wrap, taking advantage of its many benefits:
Here’s to a more peaceful and balanced you! We believe you can do it.