Is Social Media Really Making Us Depressed?
The use of Social Media continues to increase and be the most prevelant use of computer technology that society uses daily. We feel the constant need to look at our phones - and every time we receive a beep of a text or alerts from Whatsapp, Twitter or Instagram we get a social rush. Receiving alerts from devices has become our reality. We could be anywhere in the world, on the train going to work, at the beach sipping a mimosa, in a coffee shop and there we are 'tap tapping' away or at home in bed checking what your favourite followers are up to.
However, it's becoming more than just our reality; the word to use is - 'obsession', like a drug that we cannot quit. It has now become our normal way of life to share and post information about each other - such as with friends, celebrities and influencers, and once we indulge in following each other, we are more connected than ever.
Some people might say that it's a good thing to be connected to anyone and everyone, but to a certain extent, the more we have access and allow social media to take over our lives, the more we watch others and begin to compare. We start to analyse our own lives and reflect on how we can change and improve, but should we suffer at the expense of social media or would it be a good option to take a break or even deactivate your account? Which sounds extreme, but we all need to take a breather from time to time.
Three ladies made the healthy decision and decided to have a Social Media detox:
Michele Ong, an inspiring writer who decided to say “au revoir” to Social Media, because it became her whole life. Scanning news feeds every few minutes, viewing wedding engagements, adventurous holidays and upcoming baby showers. “I can feel a headache approaching, lol." She needed to drown out the noise of the constant beeping from her devices. As soon as she made the sacrifice, it was the best thing she ever did. She stopped having negative thoughts, focussed more on the positives in her life and reconnected with her friends.
“Moving away from social media has allowed me to cancel out all this noise, and to re-gather my focus”, said Michele Ong.
Writer Anna Newell Jones thought it would be a good idea to connect with friends and meet new acquaintances, but decided to delete her Twitter account because it became, again “overwhelming and confusing”. As you get so many notifications all at once, you don't know which one to look at first and soon your mission will be getting as many likes and followers as possible.
“I guarantee, digitally downsizing will open up opportunities and experiences in your life that you never could have imagined”, said Anna Newell Jones.
For Writer Olivia Mulligan, she found herself constantly scrolling. This is not a health decision to embrace as it can affect your mood and sleeping pattern, which may lead to insomnia and depression. Embracing this detox, she felt free, more productive and achieved better sleep.
"I am in control of what I do and when, and I have the confidence to be online and not addicted", said Olivia Mulligan.
You need to tell yourself the life behind social media is not their normal lives. You have no idea what the other person is going through or what they have to deal with on a daily basis. The best practice is not to have a detox every once in a while.
To ask the question, is Social Media Making Us Depressed? The answer is Yes it can, but more importantly it depends on the person’s mental state and how they allow social media to take effect their lives, especially when you have multiple notifications from not just one, three or even five social platforms beeping daily. It can be overwhelming and stressful but you still have the ability to reduce your searching, peek-a-booing, gazing and observing ways to a minimum or timing yourself, ensuring you switch off.
Social Media consumption can effect someone dealing with depression and I can sympathise with these feelings as I have been through something similar myself - but you realise people are creating a moment that expresses 'their' happiness and looking at their lives, how is it benefitting you as a person? You need to occupy yourself with activities that serve you well - such as going out to dinner with a friend, picing up a boozk, taking on a new and fulfilling hobby and not being consumed and absorbed into the world of social media and the obsessive selfie taking moment. You have the opportunity to create face to face moments instead and that is something you should be practicing and cherishing the opportunity to do so forever.
Charlene Foreman is a thirty something Londoner, who works
as a fashion editorial writer. She has strong interests in art, fashion, photography, lifestyle and travel and enjoys expressing her knowledge and experiences with others.