Many social media sites reported increased subscriptions and use over the Covid-19 period. During this time, people couldn’t connect with friends and family in person, so social media became the primary medium for communication, and this trend is still on, even post-pandemic.
According to research, social media use is one of the most popular activities online. In 2021, the number of people using social media rose to 4.26 billion, expected to rise to six billion in 2027. While social media plays a significant role in connecting people, it can lead to behavioral addiction that can negatively impact your mental health.
While no clinical diagnosis has been established on social media addiction, it’s no doubt that some aspects of social media can get you hooked on the apps for long hours. But how much social media use is considered excess?
Why Do People Use Social Media?
Social media can be accessed from anywhere at any time. This makes it convenient to stay in touch with friends and family. It is a valuable communication tool, and for businesses, social media can influence your customer’s buying decisions.
However, people can still use social media for unhealthy reasons, such as the fear of missing out, self-image issues, or using it as a security blanket. Social media allows people to seek approval for their appearances and to compare themselves with others. You are more vulnerable to this effect when you spend more time on social media.
The urge to compare yourself to others is even more pronounced if you are young and still developing your identity. You’ll find yourself carefully aligned with the ticker of carefully-selected, good-looking images to post on social media.
Social media feeds are often filled with updates highlighting only happy moments of life. The urge to only select positive images can lead to feelings of inferiority, anxiety, inadequacy, and precipitating depression. So, does scrolling social media affect your mental health?
Impact on Mental Health
Many people enjoy social media. Studies have shown that the excessive use of social media can fuel feelings of anxiety, isolation, and depression. It’s normal to argue that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are crucial in helping you connect with friends and family. Still, social media can never replace real-life human connections.
It would be best to have in-person connections to trigger hormones that make you happy and alleviate stress. Spending two hours on your favorite social media site can make you feel isolated and lonely. If your time on social media has been making you feel sad, dissatisfied, frustrated, and lonely, it’s time to reexamine your habits and adopt healthier habits.
Interventions for social media addictions and anxiety include therapy and other holistic forms of treatment. When you visit a reputable anxiety inpatient treatment centers, a specialist will first determine your problem’s severity and then address the underlying issues of your addiction.
A licensed therapist will recommend the best level of care depending on whether you have been using social media to avoid damaging and uncomfortable emotions, relying on social media for validation and self-worth, or struggling with anxiety or depression.
Like treatment for any addiction, your therapist will also insist on aftercare planning. Aftercare services might include a counselor once your inpatient program is over. Aftercare is essential as it helps instill long-term success and can significantly alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.
How Much Time Should You Actually Spend Scrolling?
Experts recommend only 30 minutes per day on social media for better mental and physical health. When you realize that your time on social media is becoming destructive, it’s imperative to set pop-up warning signs. Social media addiction is a well-recognized disorder, and self-appraisal and self-moderation might help you overcome its harsh effects.
Signs That Social Media is Affecting Your Mental Health
No specific amount of time or frequency of checking your social media sites indicates that your use has become unhealthy. Instead, it has everything to do with the impact of the time spent on the internet on your mood and other aspects of life.
For instance, it might be time to reassess your habits if you start neglecting face-to-face interactions and getting distracted at work or school. Suppose you are only motivated to visit social media because you are lonely or bored or want to post something to make people jealous or upset. In that case, that’s a clear indicator that social media is disrupting your mental peace.