Social Media Can Affect Your Health — Find the Right Balance
Social media has transformed the way people communicate. It’s now easier than ever to stay in touch with family members and friends, whether they share a home or live on opposite sides of the globe. It’s also possible to connect with “virtual friends” — people who share similar interests but have never met in person. All of this can provide hours of entertainment; however, it’s important to strike an appropriate balance between screen-to-screen and face-to-face relationships.
The use of social media can affect your mental health in many ways, both positive and negative. For instance, social media can be beneficial by providing:
- An easy way to maintain family and cultural ties
- A sense of connection
- A means to locate old friends and make new ones
- A support network
- Enhanced self-esteem
- Constant companionship
On the flip side, a disproportionate emphasis on screen-to-screen connections at the expense of face-to-face relationships can have some negative consequences, making it confusing and stressful to deal with the natural complexities of real-life interactions. This can be especially apparent and problematic in the workplace, where it is necessary to interact with people of all ages and backgrounds, clearly articulate thoughts, and understand the meaning of body language, which is often subtle and easily misinterpreted.
Sometimes, social media usage can also lead to feelings of insecurity, inferiority, jealousy, and resentment. It’s important to remember that some people present carefully edited or idealized versions of themselves online, which may make others feel inadequate when their lives don’t seem to measure up.
If being on social media is causing you to experience negative feelings, you might try limiting your time online, reducing the number of posts and comments you make, and expanding your real-life social network. Also, be careful not to compare yourself to others — even though their lives might seem better than yours, the reality is that they, too, have problems — they just aren’t talking about them.
Every day, billions of people around the world are spending hours on social media sharing insights about their lives, discussing current events, offering support and guidance, playing games, and posting jokes and amusing videos. Some people enjoy it so much that they become “addicted” to the attention and positive reinforcement they receive, only to end up feeling anxious if they are unable to log on at various points throughout the day. Again, balance is key.
If you have questions about the health effects of social media use or any other health-related topic, you are welcome to contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care. Our walk-in clinic is conveniently located on South Howard Avenue in Tampa, FL, and no appointments are necessary.