Social media availability and mental health

25 February 2021 / By Social Media

You Don't Have To Delete Social Media To Preserve Your Mental Health
- Anupriya Dubey

As we advance towards a more internet adept society, smartphones and social media have become an integral part of our lives. With our phones always within our reach, we’re also available online, and mindlessly scrolling, tapping and liking through social media. But, while the internet and social media give us access to the world at our fingertips, they also make us accessible to the world, sometimes at the cost of our personal space and mental health. This can be a result of the increased screen time from scrolling through social media for hours without purpose, and the unnecessary comparisons with other people's Instagram perfect’ lives that it brings. Such doomsrolling more often than not leaves us worn out and anxious at times.

The growing use of instant messaging on social media applications has created a virtual space where we feel obliged to respond promptly to messages, mails and posts. We’ve all experienced the anxiety that pops up with a new notification, or the fear that creeps in when we’re trying to avoid a confrontational text that caught us at a bad time; and the wallowing self-doubt brought with a message that has been left on seen This obligation of replying instantly to messages, or the fear of being left on seen can be a result of self-imposed social expectations, or simply overthinking. The pressure of being available 24/7 can bring with itself feelings of fatigue, irritation due to sensory overload, proneness to anxiety and burnout, poor sleep cycle and lack of focus, resulting in poor mental health. Therefore, it becomes crucial to understand and be mindful of the ways in which it impacts our mental health.

To deal with the rising dependency on social media and the anxiety that follows, we try to abstain from social media completely, only to get stuck in an unending loop of deleting our account only to be dragged back again out of boredom or the fear of missing out. It’s like any other addiction, and the withdrawal symptoms can be intense.

Therefore, it becomes crucial that we try to balance our social media consumption instead of refraining from using it completely, in a way that doesn’t affect our mental and emotional health.
This can be done by using social media mindfully -

● Turn off visual notifications on your phone or disconnect your internet whenever you’re not on your phone
● Don’t keep apps for social media on your phone or log out every time so that it makes them less accessible
● Use applications that help you keep a check on and restrict your social media consumption
● Take a break from your smartphone from time to time by switching it off and keeping it out
of your reach for a few hours

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