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The Scroll Toll: Social Media & Your HealthPublished:
We’ve got some shocking news for you. Social media can be addictive. Not surprised? Then you’ve probably found yourself picking up your phone and opening Instagram without even realizing you’re doing it.
And, look, before we get too into the weeds here, we do want to say that social media can have a TON of benefits. It connects people. It increases awareness. It helps you stay in the know about your local happenings. It’s not all bad. But it’s definitely worth taking a look at the ramifications of using it, then seeking out the right usage balance for yourself.
Social media and your health
Basically, we think we all deserve to be informed about this thing that’s pervaded our lives in such a major way. So here are a few fast facts we think are worth sharing. No likes or subscribes necessary.
- Social media use in the 30 minutes before you go to bed is linked to increased sleep disturbance.
- Social media can make you like your body less (and increases susceptibility to eating disorders).
- Using more than two social media platforms triples your likelihood of suffering from depression or anxiety.
- Using social media a lot can encourage you to make riskier, less value-based decisions.
Turns out comparison really is the thief of joy. And, yeah, none of this is particularly uplifting news, especially if you’re a regular social media user. But it’s important to clarify that we’re not just talking about all social media use. Most of these studies are looking at passive social media use (think: mindlessly scrolling your feed) and its effect on wellbeing. Active engagement with social media, like commenting on your friends’ pics or chiming into that group message to help plan your high school reunion, is different.
Long story short: social media can bum you out. It can encourage you to compare yourself to other people, pretty invariably with unfavorable results. It can straight up mess with the way you think. But don’t throw your phone out just yet. It’s all about how you use it.
Here are a few quick tips to help you use social safely and healthily:
- Monitor how much time you’re spending on social media every day.
- Engage when you use it. Don’t just scroll purposelessly.
- Note how you feel during and after using social media. If it bummed you out, think of three things for which you’re grateful. Sit in that gratitude for a minute.
- Take a week off every now and then to reset and avoid addictive behaviors.
- Clean out your feed. If you’re following influencers or brands who don’t make you feel good about yourself or the world, ditch them.
- Stay off social media at least 30 minutes before bed.