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Maintaining Your Mental Health While on Social Media

May 27, 2022

Tips for Maintaining Mental Health

By Parker Tabor and Hannah Seeman

Living in a generation where social media has become an integral part of our lives. With countless social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, it can be hard to maintain our mental health. With constantly being inundated with posts, videos, and notifications of what your friends are up to, it can take a toll. People mainly post about the good aspects such as life achievements, events, and only the best pictures of themselves. Most people compare themselves to others. People see their friends hanging out without them and people can develop FOMO (the fear of missing out) which has a negative impact on your mental health. After experiencing FOMO people can start to feel not good enough or worthless. Taking control of your social media usage can help you maintain your mental health. Some things you can do to maintain your mental health while on social media are setting time limits on your phone, unfollowing negative accounts/people, and taking extended breaks from social media.

The first tip to maintaining your mental health on social media is to set time limits on your phone that can help limit exposure to negative posts and negative comments. The average American uses social media for around 2 hours and 27 minutes per day. By limiting your time on social media you can keep drama and negativity thoughts out of your life. Throughout the day you can also set reminders on your phone to take breaks from social media. Taking some time away from your phone will give you a chance to clear your head and reset. You can go back and look at your social media when you are in a more positive and clear mental state.

The second tip to maintaining your mental health on social media is to unfollow negative accounts/ people on social media. When you follow negative accounts/people on social media it can take a toll on your mental health. If you find yourself feeling more stressed, angry, or sad when looking at an account you should unfollow them. Following these types of accounts can cause you to think negatively about yourself and those around you. If you start to notice that your mood is being affected in a negative way you need to distance yourself from what is causing that feeling. Living your life can be hard when you are dealing with stress and anxiety and if someone on social media is making you feel more of those feelings you need to do what is best for you and unfollow them. 

The final tip to maintaining your mental health on social media is to take extended breaks from all of your social media accounts. If the stress and anxiety is becoming too much for you to handle, try taking an extended break from social media. This means log out of your social media accounts and don’t log back in for an extended period of time. You can decide how long you want to be off of social media, it can be a week, a month, a year, it is up to you. By giving yourself a break from social media it can give you the opportunity to strengthen your relationships with the people you see in your daily life. This strategy can also help you to reflect on what went wrong and help you decide what changes you need to make so you don’t experience the same problem again. 

Being mindful of why, how, and when you’re using social media can help decrease the harmful effects that many experience when using social media. Whether that is setting time limits on your phone, unfollowing negative accounts/people, and taking breaks from social media. If you feel yourself experiencing the negative effects of social media you need to do what is best for you and your mental health.

 

Instagram vs BeReal

By Hannah Seeman and Parker Tabor

Social media has been a part of our generation for our entire lives. We were born the same year as Facebook and Skype, we were in elementary school when Twitter and Snapchat were created, and as we begin to leave high school, it feels like a new social media app is released every month. We use social media daily to communicate and update. There are a lot of good aspects of social media; talking with friends, seeing what old friends are doing, getting news intake, and finding out what’s going on in your favorite celebrity’s life. But there are also a lot of downsides to social media. Because you only post about the good aspects of your life – achievements, events, the best pictures of yourself – you can often find yourself comparing your life to others. You’ll wish you had gotten to go to that concert, travel to a cool country, or can get FOMO (the fear of missing out) when you see people hanging out without you, even if you don’t know them that well. Instagram was the first social media platform many of us downloaded, most of us had it before we even had phones. We learned at a young age how to post, like, and comment. It was a new, exciting experience for not just us kids, but everyone. Now, it feels like there’s a new social media app every month. A new, growing app is called “BeReal,” an app that is supposed to be “real” social media, a one take, unedited post. Both apps have positive and negative effects on our social lives and our mental health. 

Instagram was created in 2010 and immediately took off gaining 10 million users within the year. The app was created by Kevin Systrom, a lover of photography who wanted a platform where other people with the same passion could post photos. Of course, it turned into a platform to share anything about your life, and to connect with friends and family. There are many positive aspects about Instagram, mostly, it’s a great way to stay in contact with those you otherwise wouldn’t. You can also make friends through Instagram; a lot of students heading into college often find their roommates through social media platforms like Instagram. You can stay informed of news, whether it’s from your favorite politician or your favorite celebrity. But there are also negative aspects of Instagram that can have a big impact on users’ mental health. A lot of people edit or photoshop their photos, and even if they don’t go that extreme, they still share the most flattering picture of themselves. The majority of people also only post the happy parts of their lives. This can affect people who see their posts because they can grow envious of the snippet of life they see on Instagram. Users can often feel the fear of missing out (FOMO) when seeing their peers hanging out. Overall, individuals will often compare themselves to the posts they see which can lead to low self esteem. Even if we tell ourselves that social media is not representative of our lives, it can be hard to ignore that voice in the back of our heads telling us the complete opposite.

Although BeReal was created in 2020, it’s only starting to gain prominence now in 2022, mostly by Generation Z. BeReal is an app where at a random time in the day, you never know when and it changes everyday, you have two minutes to “be real,” or take a photo with your front and back camera to show what you’re doing. Users are encouraged to post on time because if you don’t, your friends on the app get a notification saying you posted late. This app is an awesome way for users to share what their real lives are like on a day to day basis. It opens genuine conversations between you and your peers. For example, a classmate of yours might post while they’re at a soccer game and you might not have known that they played soccer until now. Apps like BeReal can also help with insecurities and image. You might see certain people only post their highlights on Instagram and it can be really refreshing to see these same people doing everyday things, like sitting at home watching TV or being at school. However there are still some negative aspects. Some people might not follow the rules, like posting a black screen instead of their face and what they’re doing or posting later so they can show themselves doing something cooler. But when used correctly, BeReal is a great platform to be able to post about your life without feeling the pressure of being judged. 

In conclusion, both apps have the potential to complement each other. It’s nice to be able to post on Instagram something you’re proud of: a trip you just took or an activity you were awarded for, but it’s also nice to know that on BeReal, people are being themselves and that not everyone’s life is sunshine and rainbows all of the time. Social media will never go away and it’s great to see how the uses for these apps are evolving over time.

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