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Can we prevent social media from harming our mental health?

There is no doubt that social media had a deep impact on our lives. It has allowed us to stay connected with friends and family all over the world in ways impossible. However there is growing worry that social media may be harming our mental health.

A study published in the journal lancet found that people who use social media more than once a day are 3 times more likely to feel depressed and 2 times more likely to feel worried than people who use social media less commonly. Another study published in the journal psychology of popular media culture found that people who use social media more than once a day are more likely to feel socially separate and have lower self respect.

So can we prevent social media from harming our mental health?

There is no easy answer to this question. However there are a few things that we can do to lower the risk of social media harming our mental health.

First we can try to use social media in balance. Too much of anything can be harmful and this is certainly true of social media.We should aim to use social media no more than once or twice a day.

Second, we can make sure that we are staying connected with friends and family in real life. Social media can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family but it is not a replacement for real life interaction.Spending time with friends and family in person is important for our mental health.

Finally we can be mindful of how we are using social media. We should make sure that we are not using social media to compare ourselves to others. We should also be careful not to spend too much time on social media.

Social media can be a great tool but it is important to use it in balance and to be mindful of how we are using it.

more than one third of american adults view social media as injurious to their mental health according to a new survey from the american psychiatric association. Just 5% view social media as being positive for their mental health, the survey found. Another 45% say it has both positive and negative effects.

Two third of the survey respondents believe that social media usage is related to social severance and loneliness. There is a strong body of research linking social media use with depression. Other studies have linked it to envy lower self respect and social concern.

It has been reported that social media can have a negative impact on our mental health. 

We can prevent social media from harming our mental health by implementing the following:

regulating our screen time

thinking before we post

setting boundaries

seeking professional help

Regulating our screen time can be difficult, but it is important. We should aim to spend no more than two hours a day on screens, and take breaks often.

Thinking before we post is also important. We should be mindful of the impact our words and images may have, and ask ourselves if we would want others to see them.

Setting boundaries is also key. We can limit our time on social media, choose not to have notifications on our phone, or take a break from social media every now and then.

Finally, if we are struggling with our mental health, we should seek professional help. Talking to a professional can help us get on the right path and make positive changes in our lives.

Using social media can interrupt and interfere with in-person communications. You’ll connect better with people in your life if you have certain times each day when your social media notifications are off – or your phone is even in airplane mode. Commit to not checking social media during meals with family and friends, and when playing with children or talking with a partner. Make sure social media doesn’t interfere with work, distracting you from demanding projects and conversations with colleagues. In particular, don’t keep your phone or computer in the bedroom – it disrupts your sleep.

Schedule regular multi-day breaks from social media. Several studies have shown that even a five-day or week-long break from Facebook can lead to lower stress and higher life satisfaction. You can also cut back without going cold turkey: Using Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat just 10 minutes a day for three weeks resulted in lower loneliness and depression. It may be difficult at first, but seek help from family and friends by publicly declaring you are on a break and delete the apps for your favorite social media services.

Experiment with using your favorite online platforms at different times of day and for varying lengths of time, to see how you feel during and after each session. You may find that a few short spurts help you feel better than spending 45 minutes exhaustively scrolling through a site’s feed. And if you find that going down a Facebook rabbit hole at midnight routinely leaves you depleted and feeling bad about yourself, eliminate Facebook after 10 p.m. Also note that people who use social media passively, just browsing and consuming others’ posts, feel worse than people who participate actively, posting their own material and engaging with others online. Whenever possible, focus your online interactions on people you also know offline.

If you look at Twitter first thing in the morning, think about whether it’s to get informed about breaking news you’ll have to deal with – or if it’s a mindless habit that serves as an escape from facing the day ahead. Do you notice that you get a craving to look at Instagram whenever you’re confronted with a difficult task at work? Be brave and brutally honest with yourself. Each time you reach for your phone (or computer) to check social media, answer the hard question: Why am I doing this now? Decide whether that’s what you want your life to be about.

Conclusion

Yes we can stop social media from harming our mental health by regulating use of it. We should take breaks from social media, use privacy settings to stop who we share our information with. limit the time we spend on social media platforms.

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