Social Media: A Silent but Highly Harmful Addiction to Our Mental Health

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    Have you ever seen how much time they spend on social media per day? If you have not done it yet, I want you to go to your phone and in the “screen time” part it will indicate the average daily time. I assure you that you will be surprised by the result.

    It is true that they facilitate communication and the flow of global information, but in excess it can have great consequences on our mental health. There are studies that indicate that the use of social networks is related to a significant increase in depression and anxiety.

    And it is true that a pro of technology today is that you can communicate with someone who is on the other side of the world. But now we are going to see the counterpart; that is being able to be available 24 hours a day, almost on demand. (And this can be from work, to a friend or family member, who may feel or get upset if you don’t answer). Or perhaps they have not been told this sentence: “Then why do you have a cell phone if you don’t answer it? or “they call you for any emergency and you do not answer”.

    And it is just when today I go back years; when I was a girl and there were not even smartphones, there was no one to complain to you if you did not reply to a message, and there was not this anxiety for every notification you received, or having to be available 24 hours a day. Or tell me if it has not happened to you that sometimes when you see a notification, you go into a state of anguish.

    And it is that we have reached a moment in which we totally depend on our cell phone, especially through social media. For example, they are on TikTok watching a video and when they see the time, 3 hours have passed since they were involved in those social media; it is a silent process how technology absorbs you.

    Depression and Anxiety, Two Evils that are Gaining Strength During the Pandemic

    Body dysmorphia under the influence of social media

    Another disorder that social media can cause is body dysmorphia, especially among millennials, obsessing over physical defects that are not always real. In other words, you see “perfect” bodies and faces that you wish you had or simply because you obsess over Instagram filters.

    I want you to listen to this fact that really struck me: “according to the Spanish Society of Aesthetic Medicine, cosmetic surgeries increased to 43% in millennials” This idea of wanting to have more likes on a photo or video to increase your self-esteem is what has led many and many to make this change.

    One of the advantages of social networks is being able to be aware of what happens every day, such as global news or how traffic is (which I love), but this type of dependence on social media, is creating the FOMO syndrome in many people.

    FOMO: What is it? What are its warning signs?

    For those who are not familiarized with this term, FOMO is the fear of missing out on something. And this is where the misuse of technology comes in, because you already have this obsession of looking at your cell phone every minute, going to social media to see what has happened to the lives of others or to the world in general, why not you want to miss any event that is happening, and this means that you are not really living your life and also you are comparing yourself. It is this type of social exclusion, well, it has always existed and it causes frustration.

    It really surprises me a lot that a like, or a view of your stories can create frustration, unhappiness and that your self-esteem depends so much on that. You have to pay a lot of attention there. And let’s see, it seems that I am against social media with all this that I am talking about, but I think that it has its good and bad sides. What is worrisome is how, due to this phenomenon that is social media, which perhaps had a positive end at the beginning, right now they are creating many disorders in terms of mental health, and as I told you, it is a silent problem, and it also does not we pay attention because we see it as “normal”.

    Tips to avoid becoming ‘slaves’ of social media

    I want to give you some tips so that social media do not affect your mental health:

    1. Set time alarms on the social media you use the most. This will help you reduce your visit

    2. Try turning off notifications; that makes you distracted and interested in staying connected

    3. Avoid content that does you no good. Here I also refer to stalking, because you are only seeing what that person does and does not do, and it is creating anguish or sadness for you.

    4. Clean up your followers and followers, especially the latter, choose who brings you good things, and not those who only create anguish or stress. Also something that is good is to unfollow those people with whom you are constantly comparing yourself. For your own mental health’s sake, just do it!

    5. Have in-person physical and social activities. I know that many things have changed with the pandemic, but now that little by little we are returning to normality, we must take advantage of this part of contact, and having this type of activity will also reduce this part of dependence on the cell phone, let’s see what the others do or don’t do, because we are going to be focused on something we like, being with people who do us good and who contribute to us.

    6. Half an hour before bed, get rid of your smartphone, put it in “do not disturb” mode and rest. Remember that the blue light from the screens is what prevents you from sleeping easily.

    7. Meditate. Have moments of conscious breathing, they will be spaces for digital disconnection and it will also help you improve your concentration, and so when you are doing an activity, do not get distracted at any time with your phone

    Digital well-being is the balance between quality and quantity. If you use social media to be well informed, to stay in touch with your friends and family, or even to exercise or meditate, that is quality time, it is okay to use them. But, on the contrary, if you spend all your time on social media to see what other people are doing (and obviously here you are comparing yourself) or sending and viewing memes, instead of concentrating on your activities or being with your children, you are misusing technology, you are missing out on your life.

    At last but not least, I recommend you to use them in such a way that they do not generate alterations in your emotional well-being.

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