Is social media good for your mental health?
There is a lot of talk about whether social media and its attendant devices are good for your mental health. Like a lot of controversial issues, there are two sides to it. I think we can all agree that staying glued to your devices and scrolling, reading, responding and texting endlessly is not good for anyone. However, today I want to talk about how social media can be good for your mental health.
Mental health benefits of social media
The first social media platform I discovered was Facebook and I loved it. I have relatives strewn all over the globe and we began communicating for the first time in years. It was a warm and wonderful experience and I haven’t lost touch with any of them since.
Surveys show that almost two-thirds of social media users primarily sign into their digital platforms to keep in touch. It’s pretty clear that connecting with old friends and family is a wonderful emotional health benefit of social media. Here are a few more.
- Keeping up with what’s good in the world: Today’s news is full of tragedy and divisiveness. Social media keeps up with all of the world’s woes for sure but it also helps us keep up with positive information. There are all kinds of sites that cater to good news like Upworthy and Uplift Connect, the key word here being “up”. It’s also nice to see happy pictures of pets and videos of people doing extraordinary things. The key to keeping it healthy is to remain positive about what you post (at least for the most part) and to maintain a positive newsfeed.
- Making new friends: A person previously unknown to me read a post I posted to a friend. He contacted me about a story he thought I’d be interested in, and I was. We’ve been Facebook buddies ever since. It’s not unusual anymore to be friends with people you’ve never met. Just be smart about it.
- Self-expression: Social media can be damaging to your self-esteem in many ways, from cyberbullying to comparing your life with others who seem to have “made it”. However, it can also be very empowering. You can connect with online communities that share your values, your hobbies and your particular interests. You can post pictures and videos of your thriving vegetable garden or a special event. You can express in writing when you are feeling sad or happy.
- Education: Social media provides a seemingly infinite amount of resources and information to keep learning new things. Whether it’s about a free class, a book recommendation, a recipe, or a “how to” craft post, you can keep your mind fresh by consistent learning.
- Business feedback: Anyone who uses social media for business knows that when done properly, it can provide a sense of pride, encouragement and confidence. It’s actual people who run businesses and they usually invest a great deal of themselves into their commercial endeavors. Receiving “likes” and positive reviews can be a real mood booster and personal motivator.
For social media to be good for your mental health, you have to know how to use it in a positive way. Never diss your spouse online (I’ve seen some of those horrible posts), don’t threaten to unfriend people because they don’t share your political beliefs, and don’t ignore friends, families or going outdoors because you’re glued to your device. Moderation in all things should be your go-to place.
That said, stop reading this post and get up and take a break. Go outside for a bit of fresh air, take a walk, or call a friend. Hope you have a great day.