Social Media & Mental Health
I have this wonderful opportunity to talk to people everyday about their health. I love coaching
individuals in ways to improve their life through an active lifestyle. But it's needless to say that improving our fitness level isn’t the only thing that will help us live a happier life. This is why I will always talk about our mental health and the impact it has in our overall wellbeing.
You may find some irony in what I am about to share, since I connect with a lot of you via social media networks, but I cannot ignore the connection between cellphone/social media use and this epidemic of chronic anxiety/depression and low self esteem.
First of all, I have to admit I use my phone for everything. It is my alarm, my scheduler, my camera, my way to keep in touch with friends/family and clients, It stores my electronic books and my music. It is also crucial to help me run my business. It feels like a necessity in this day and age. Can you relate to me? If I leave my phone behind, I will drive and pick it up. If it runs out of battery, I charge it right away. What if you don’t have signal or Wi-Fi? Do we get a sense of anxiety or frustration?
When we become so dependant on a item, it really starts to have control over our life, whether we realize it or not. Overtime, this creates unhealthy patterns that lead to anxiety, addictive habits and depression for some.
Am I using my phone too much?
Here are some questions that can help us do a self-evaluation:
How many times a day do I check my phone?
Do I feel anxious when I do not have my phone on me?
Do I feel a strong need to check my emails, social media pages etc?
Do I feel anxious when I do not have Wi-Fi?
Would I be okay with having no phone for an entire day? Week?
Do I feel a need to check my phone upon waking up right away?
Do I feel a need to check my phone at night before bedtime?
Do I suffer with neck/shoulder pain and spasms?
Tips to reduce cellphone usage:
Unsubscribe from marketing emails
Give yourself a time limit with your cellphone
Create a plan for your phone use
Put your phone away
Take a cellphone holiday
Change your phone settings
Understand your triggers to phone use and find alternatives
Another very important issue that gets barely talked about is the connection between musculoskeletal pain/tightness and problems with our nervous system. Over-usage of our cellphone is causing us some serious imbalances that lead to neck pain, shoulder tightness, muscle spasms and neurological symptoms. So get this!… Our musculoskeletal system is directly connected to our nervous system. If one is off, the other will be affected.
Imbalances in our CNS (central nervous system) can lead to abnormal levels of stress, anxiety and gut health problems just to name a few. Crazy right?!
Social media, specially Instagram has become a very powerful tool for business and individuals. It has allowed many to build this platform that moves people and creates communities of like-minded individuals. Whether is for marketing, self expression, motivational pages or personal accounts, social media is where it’s at. But could something so powerful come at no cost?
Although we cannot deny the benefits of social networking, it is important to know this platform is also associated with high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, low self esteem, bullying and FOMO (fear of missing out). I’m really not surprised at the studies that show young people who spend more than two hours a day on social media are more likely to report mental distress.
Seeing constant photos of people enjoying their holiday can make some feel like they are missing out on life. Social media posts can also set unrealistic expectations of life, body image and material possessions which create feelings of inadequacy and low self esteem.
Yes this is not the case for everyone, since we are all so different; but it is important to evaluate ourselves and examine whether or not we are being affected in a negative way.
Is Instagram affecting my mental health?
Here are some questions that can help us do a self evaluation:
Do I struggle with low-self esteem?
Do images of fit individuals motivate me to action or make me feel upset about my body?
Do I feel like I’m missing out on life?
Do I feel like my life isn’t adventurous enough?
Do I constantly compare myself to others on social media?
I’m I constantly moved to purchase products promoted on social media?
I’m I addicted to Instagram? Why?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you are not alone and you can still succeed in taking control over the things that impact your life. Don’t allow this information to make you feel afraid to continue making a positive contribution on social platforms, but let’s live with awareness. The truth is, social media isn’t going away, so focus on being social media smart, use it with moderation and get rid of any account that make you feel like your life is not good enough or that you are not good enough. You are amazing and unique, so don’t allow anyone to tell you otherwise. Don’t be fooled, a lot of posts are not a true reflection of people's lives plus its the simple things of life that hold the most value.