How the way you use social media can influence your happiness and mental wellbeing (+5 tips)
Social media has become an integral part of our lives. Whether it's TikTok, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or any other platform, we use them to connect with friends and family, stay up-to-date on news and events, and share our thoughts and experiences with the world.
However, research has shown that the way we use social media can have a significant impact on our happiness and mental well-being. In this article, I'm going to share some of the positive and negative impacts and how you can optimise your social media use.
Positive impacts of social media use on happiness
Here are some of the benefits you can expect from joining the amazing scroll.
One of the most significant positive impacts of social media use is that it allows us to connect with others. Whether it's through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, social media platforms provide an opportunity to stay in touch with friends and family members who may be far away. This can lead to feelings of closeness, support, and belonging, which are all important components of happiness and well-being.
Social media can also provide access to important information and resources. Whether it's news, health information, or educational resources, social media platforms can be a valuable source of information. This can increase our knowledge and competence, which can boost our self-esteem and contribute to our overall happiness.
Social media can be a platform for creative expression and sharing. Whether it's sharing art, music, or writing, social media platforms provide a way to showcase our creativity and share our passions with others. This can lead to feelings of self-esteem and accomplishment, which can boost our happiness and well-being.
On top of all this, social media can also provide a source of entertainment and distraction. Now I know that distraction has a bit of a negative connotation, but it can be a good thing! Whether it's watching funny videos, scrolling through memes, or reading interesting articles, social media can provide a way to unwind and de-stress. This can be particularly beneficial for those who may be feeling overwhelmed or stressed out.
Negative impacts of social media use on happiness
Let's be honest - the reputation of the big social media scroll tends to be more on the negative side. Below are some solid reasons as to why.
One of the most significant negative impacts of social media use is that it can be easy to spend a lot of time scrolling through social media without actively engaging. This can lead to feelings of boredom and FOMO (fear of missing out), which can negatively impact our happiness.
Spending too much time on social media can interfere with real-life relationships and activities, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness. This can be particularly harmful to those who may already be struggling with mental health issues or social anxiety.
Engaging in social comparison by constantly comparing ourselves to others on social media can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. It's easy to fall into the trap of comparing our lives to the highlight reels of others, which can leave us feeling like we're not measuring up.
Engaging in or being a victim of cyberbullying on social media can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. This can be particularly harmful to young people, who may not have the emotional maturity or support to deal with these types of experiences.
Using social media before bedtime can interfere with sleep quality and quantity, leading to feelings of exhaustion and decreased well-being. This can be particularly harmful to those who may already be struggling with sleep issues or insomnia.
How to use social media in a way that promotes happiness and well-being
Ok, now that we discussed some of the pros and cons of social media use, let's consider some tips to help you reap the benefits only. Here are my top five tips.
1. Set boundaries
One of the most important things we can do to promote happiness and well-being when using social media is to set boundaries. This may mean limiting our time on social media, turning off notifications, or taking breaks when we feel overwhelmed.
2. Engage actively
Another important way to promote happiness and well-being on social media is to engage actively. This means actively participating in conversations, sharing positive news, and engaging in positive interactions with others.
3. Limit social comparison
It's important to remember that social media is often a highlight reel, not a true representation of someone's life. To limit social comparison, it can be helpful to unfollow accounts that make you feel inadequate or negatively impact your self-esteem. Instead, focus on following accounts that promote positivity and inspiration.
4. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness can be a powerful tool for promoting happiness and well-being when using social media. This means being present and aware of our thoughts and feelings while using social media and avoiding getting caught up in negative thought patterns or emotions.
5. Seek support
If you're struggling with the negative impacts of social media use on your happiness and well-being, it's important to seek support. This may mean talking to a trusted friend or family member, seeking professional help from a therapist or counsellor, or joining a support group.