How Social Media Can Affect Your Mental Health

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Social media has changed the way we live, the way we feel, and even the way we wake up. People used to wake up to the buzz of an alarm, which they would reach over and tap snooze button on. Now traditional alarm clocks have been replaced by cell phone alarms, which you swipe to get rid of and then get on Facebook or Twitter to see what’s going on. It’s something that is part of our everyday lives, but how does social media affect your mental health?

Social media was designed so people could communicate, share ideas, photos, and connect with people in their circles. Now, people accept just about anyone because if you don’t have a lot of friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter, then you’re not 'popular'. Even worse, people often post rude and offensive comments to see how many people give them likes or share their status. It’s a frightening world that we live in and unfortunately the fast-paced social media world has no stop, especially when people can go viral and become Internet sensations overnight.

A study by the University of Pittsburg surveyed 1,787 American adults on how much time they spend on social media to determine their risk for depression. On average they spend a little over an hour (61 minutes) on at least one form of social media during the day. Researchers found that the more time they spend on social media, the greater their risk for feeling depressed.

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It’s true, just think about when someone tells you that you look fat or asks you if you slept well the night before because you look haggard. Except, people on social media are not that nice and they don’t know you so they have no reason to spare your feelings.

That’s just one thing, but the news media also contributes to these feelings of depression. Millennials don’t watch their news on TV, instead they turn to their phones to see what’s trending and often complain about all the violence and tragedy that shows up on their feeds. The reactions people get from seeing those stories are feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety and depression.

What’s the solution to the problem? You have to filter out the negativity. Stop reading the comments and don’t reply back to trolls. There’s a reason why videos of cats and dogs are so popular—because they make you feel warm and fuzzy! Unfollow sources that give you negative feelings. Or simply limit the amount of time you spend on social media, unplug especially at night, plus you’ll sleep better. Instead focus on the positive because there is a lot of good in our world, you just have to go out there and look for it!

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