Social Media Can Destroy Our Mental Health. Let’s Discuss What We Can Actually Do About It.

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Social media can be wonderful, but it can also be omnipresent, addictive, and damaging. In 2022, Australia has 20.50 million social media users. 63.9% of Australian internet users, however, have expressed concern over what is real and what is fake.

Many of us, Leep staff included, turn to the Internet and social media for an escape. Stressed out? Watch one – or fifty! – videos on Instagram of cute cats, dramatic dogs, or a perfectly organised pantry. Likes on our content can give us a definite serotonin boost, but data suggests that some people end up feeling the exact opposite: “isolated, detached, and, well, sad.”

Jean Twenge PhD, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, claims that extensive amounts of time on social media is “linked to depression and loneliness and unhappiness.” What – if anything – can we do about it?

Here are some pointers:

  1. Cultivate a safe space – only follow people and join groups that share your values and fit your needs. As soon as someone starts triggering you, unfollow them.
  2. Fight comparison syndrome – some advice suggests to only follow people you have met in person so that when you see them on a lavish holiday, you know how they got there. This can turn any jealousy or negative self-talk into positivity: your friend finally got to take that honeymoon!
  3. Consider your negativity threshold – before you publish, ask yourself the following questions: Am I willing to offend or irritate? How much negativity am I willing to take?
  4. Identify the experts – be cautious about who you watch and follow as a health “expert”.

This deep-dive into social media from Self also discusses setting healthy boundaries and taking social media breaks whenever you need them.

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