If social media is making you feel down, you’re not alone.
“Social media usage can really impact your mental health negatively,” says Dr. Saliha Afridi, PsyD, clinical psychologist and MD of Lighthouse Clinic Arabia. “People can have higher levels of anxiety or depression and lower confidence and self-esteem levels too.”
Part of this is because humans are social creatures. “We compare ourselves to others to see how we measure up,” she explains. That means if you’re constantly looking at gorgeous people in stunning places, you’re going to feel the negative impact.
So what can you do to combat social media effecting our mental health? “Don’t just follow without consideration. Our personality and mood are both affected by whom we hang out with - this goes for the virtual world also.”
Look for accounts that are more realistic, and keep an eye on pages that are always using filters or modifying themselves.
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“Spend more time engaging with real people and limit your time on social media. It can be like a black hole you get sucked into if you’re not deliberate.”
Finally, adds Dr. Afridi, “social media projects ideas about who we should be.” If you start disconnecting from who you really are, you can create a ‘fragile sense of self’. “Check in with yourself often: who am I, who do I want to be, what are my values, and who are my role models? These will connect you back to your inner world.”