Social Media and Mental Health

Social Media and Mental Health is a HOT TOPIC.

Social media is affecting our mental health in ways we never could have predicted, particularly among the younger generations.

Young people spend 5-7 hours a day on social media. Now, to anyone who is a younger person or is a parent of young children, I can imagine that this topic is no surprise.

As a social media professional, I want to give you some tips on how to get the best out of social media and minimise its impact on your mental health.

One of the first things to realise is, if you’d told us 5 years ago that we would spend this much time on social media, people would have laughed at you.

The only reason this is possible is because social media changes your habits 1% every single day. We didn’t just wake up one day and decide to spend 5 hours on Instagram. The algorithms learned more about what we like and what we don’t like to keep us on those platforms for longer.

A lot of the time, we can see these negative spirals where, unfortunately, anger, sadness, or resentment - the emotions that content brings out in us - keep us on those platforms for longer.

These social algorithms have been built up unintentionally by content you like that keeps you angry and drawn into the platform.

So, before you engage with something, it’s important to be more mindful of the content you’re consuming. If it’s something that usually irritates you, just scroll past it or close the app when it comes up.

I know this is hard, but going cold turkey never works - you’ll just end up back a week later with the same 7-hour screen time.

It’s that 1% change which compounds and changes your behaviours over time!

Following on from that, my second tip is to be mindful of who you follow.

There’s this incredible button on all social media platforms that people often forget about: the mute button! This button is magical because you can stay friends with people and keep following them, but you don’t have to see their content.

So, if you see a neighbour who’s always posting and always airing their dirty laundry on Facebook or Instagram, you don’t have to see that.

You don’t have to engage. You don’t have to get sucked into that argument. You can just say to yourself: “I still want to be friends with that person, but I’m not going to see their content.”

There’s no profound way to solve social media issues. No one button that’s going to fix everything.

It’s all about mindful content consumption: maximising the positive content you see and minimising the negative content you see.

That 1% compounding change over time will massively help with your social media and your mental health.

What you spend 5-7 hours a day doing can either build you or break you. So you just have to be mindful.

It really can be that simple!

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