How does using social media make you feel? You’re not alone if you tend to feel worse after using it - Instagram was recently rated the worst app for mental health, according to a new report by the Royal Society for Public Health in the United Kingdom.
Participants aged 14-24 were asked whether anxiety, depression and loneliness were associated with social media app use with platforms also including Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter.
Each of these platforms were linked to decreased wellbeing, disrupted sleep and bullying between users. Even just two hours of social media use a day in young people can be detrimental – causing mental health issues, psychological distress and even suicidal thoughts.
Although Instagram has over 700 million users worldwide, the image focused nature of the app and constant onslaught of edited pictures means it impacts on user wellbeing, creating comparisons and feelings of inadequacy. One participant said “Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren’t good enough.”
We live in an increasingly digitalised world, so what can you do?
How can you be social media mindful?
Here’s some tips to ensure your time spent online is enjoyable:
- Keep track of how long you’re spending online
- Even though social media can provide support remember to lean on your in-person network too
- Know when you need a break – some symptoms linked to excessive screen time include sore eyes, trouble sleeping or headaches
- Understand a post is just a snapshot and rarely captures all the aspects of someone’s life
- Be aware of how you feel while using social media - it can help you use it more mindfully
- There a number of recently developed apps that provide a range of exercises that are beneficial for psychological health such as Headspace and Happify
Social media usage is complex, while there’s studies supporting looking at other people’s posts tends to make us feel worse – the opposite is also true. As we look back on our own updates we tend to feel positive. Consider having a scroll through your own memories sometimes and remember others are also choosing to post the highlights of their lives too.
Social media platforms are just a medium – examining your own relationship with technology can help you be aware and practice healthy social media habits.
If you would like to have a discussion with GB about what action plans are available to improve the mental health and wellbeing of your workplace, contact us today.
For further tips on mindfulness in the workplace read our article on Mindfulness.