Do You Need a Social Media Detox? Effects of Social Media on Mental Health

Updated: Jul 28

Does the thought of a social media detox scare you? Here are three strategies for minimizing the harmful effects of social media use so that it does not have a negative influence on your mental health.

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The Negative Effects of Social Media on Mental Health: 4 Ways to Overcome Them...One of Them is a Social Media Detox (Yikes!)


Social media is a part of daily life for many people. We use it to connect with friends, watch videos, and play games without realizing the impact it has on our mental health. For some people, constant monitoring of social media may lead to anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression.[*] In this blog post, we'll discuss the impact of social media on mental health and offer four strategies to help prevent the negative effects.


What Is Social Media and How Does It Impact Our Mental Health?


There is no one answer to this question as social media can mean different things to different people. In general, social media refers to online platforms that allow users to connect with friends and family, share content, and engage in discussions. There are benefits to using social media, such as staying connected with loved ones and feeling like you're a part of a community. However, there are mental health risks as well.[*]

Negative Effects of Social Media on Mental Health


There's a wealth of research on the negative consequences of social media usage. Because some of the research is inconclusive, we don't know if social media is the cause of certain mental health problems. However, there is enough evidence to show that social media has a detrimental effect on our mental health.


For example, a study found that Facebook addiction is a strong predictor of adolescent narcissism and low self-esteem.[*] Another research study looked at a group of 1,787 adults. They found that those who use social media more often are more likely to report depressive symptoms.[*]


Exercise is an effective strategy to improve mental health.[*] Yet, one study found that social media use was linked to reduced physical activity and negative health consequences in girls.[*] From this, we see how social media can have a ripple effect on our mental and physical health.


Related: 15 Ways to Take a Break from Social Media When You Need a Detox


Another study of 219 college freshmen looked at the effects of social media on identity and social comparison. The findings suggest that people who compare themselves to others socially online are more likely to have identity problems and ruminate. And, people who compare themselves to others in terms of their opinions are more likely to reflect and avoid identity distress.[*]


Check out our daily affirmations journal to counteract the negative effects of social media on your mental health!

4 Strategies to Overcome The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health-Some of Us Need a Full Social Media Detox!


Here are four things you can do to help safeguard your mental health if social media is affecting it:


1. Use phone apps and tools to limit and track your social media use.


There are a number of phone apps that can help you limit and track your social media use. Some of these apps include Moment, Offtime, and Social Fever. These apps can help you set time limits for how much you use each app, as well as track how often you're using them. You may also use your phone's timer to limit how long you spend on social media. Set a timer for a specific length of time, log out of your account after it times out, and you'll be set.


Related: 9 Best Wellness Apps and Tools for 2022, According to a Physical Therapist


2. Try a social media detox.


The more time you spend on social media, the greater your risk of psychological harm. If you're finding that your mental health is suffering because of your social media use, try taking a break from it altogether. A detox can give your mind some much-needed respite from the constant stream of content and allow you to focus on other things.


Tools for your detox:

· The Power of Off: The Mindful Way to Stay Sane in a Virtual World

· Creating Calm Mindfulness Journal

· Self-Care Planner


3. Turn off notifications.


The constant flow of updates from social media may be distracting and stressful. Turn off notifications for all of your social media accounts to reduce the amount of time you spend on social network sites. You may want to remove all of your smartphone's social media applications. This way, you'll have to make a conscious effort to visit social media sites, rather than being pulled into them every time you hear a notification.


*If you're looking for an app to help you with your social media detox by improving your self-care and mindfulness, Headspace is a great option. Try it for FREE!


Related: Manage Stress and Anxiety with Meditation For More Peace


4. Only follow positive accounts.


The newsfeeds on social media can be filled with negative news and images. To reduce the amount of negativity you see online, only follow positive accounts such as friends and family, or accounts that share uplifting content. This will help you focus on the positive aspects of social media, rather than the negative. What a great way to practice self-care!


For more positivity, try a 30-day gratitude challenge!

Final Thoughts About the Impact Social Media Has on Our Mental Health


Despite the fact that social media has several drawbacks for mental health, it may be a useful tool in moderation. It's critical to remember that we are in charge of how we use social media and how it affects us. If we're mindful of the impact it has on our mental state, we can enjoy the benefits it has to offer without letting it have a negative influence on our well-being.



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