For more than a decade, social media has ruled our lives. Statistics show that nearly 80 percent of Americans use some form of social media. It has changed the way we interact with one another and changed the way we receive vital information, like critical breaking news.
While there are positive things about social media, it’s becoming more and more evident that there are significant problems with it as well.
So, is social media harmful? Let’s take a look at the evidence, beginning with how social media effects our mental health.
Is Social Media Harmful?
There are many ways in which social media impacts our mental health. One of the biggest ways is that it creates numerous self-esteem issues. Social media has taken “Keeping up with the Jones” to a whole new level. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others.
One study from the University of Copenhagen found that people now suffer from something called “Facebook Envy.” It’s a phenomenon where people become jealous of others based only on what they see on social media.
Dr. Tim Bono told Healthista, “When we derive a sense of worth based on how we are doing relative to others, we place our happiness in a variable that is completely beyond our control.”
Furthermore, a study from the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found social media use is linked to feelings of loneliness and depression. One of the co-authors of the study, Jordyn Young, said that “decreased social media use is what causes the qualitative shift in your well-being. Before this, all we could say was that there is an association between using social media and having poor outcomes with well-being.”
Perhaps one reason social media contributes to these feelings is because we become more invested in our friends’ digital personas instead of who they really are. Social media has created a phenomenon known as, “Fear of Missing Out.” When we see other friends having fun, we feel lonely and anxious that we are missing out on the fun. A study from the American Journal of Epidemiology confirms this.
Social media has also become detrimental to our mental health due to the way it impacts our memory. Facebook and other social media platforms allow us to look back on things such as:
But these features distort how our brains process memories. We spend so much time trying to capture the ideal photograph for social media that we fail to appreciate the live experience with our own eyes.
When we spend life looking through a lens, we only remember what we see on our screens instead of recognizing the experience as a whole.
Lastly, social media hurts our mental health because it disrupts our sleep patterns. New research demonstrates that a lack of sleep is not a symptom of mental illness, but a cause. Harvard Health reports that those with sleep problems also exhibit mental health disorders such as:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
Unfortunately, our addiction to social media disrupts our circadian rhythms. In the same Healthista article, Dr. Bono stated, “Getting worked up with anxiety or envy from what we see on social media keeps the brain on high alert, preventing us from falling asleep. Plus, the light from our mobile devices suppresses the release of melatonin, a hormone that helps us feel tired.”
Essential Oils Could Improve Your Mental Health
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to combat the adverse effects of social media. Social media is everywhere around us, and it doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. Obviously, cutting it out of your life entirely would have the most positive effects on your mental health.
But, if you’re not willing to delete your social media accounts and take yourself off the grid, you should at least try to counteract its adverse effects. One of the best ways for you to do so is by practicing aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils, which are potent plant extracts. Typically, people practice aromatherapy by either applying the oils topically or putting them into a diffuser. Users may place a drop or two of essential oils on their temples to help with mental health issues. Placing the oil in a diffuser allows you to inhale the particles, providing long-lasting relief.
Essential oils are generally safe. However, you should never ingest any of the oils that you use. Additionally, not all the oils interact well with one another. Blends are acceptable, but make sure that you ensure the oils are compatible before blending.
You could also buy pre-made essential oil blends, which guarantees they are safe to use. One of the best essential oils for mental health is lavender. Lavender has a natural calming effect, and many users find that it helps relieve stress and anxiety. It also helps promote relaxation and sleep, making it excellent for use before bed. Instead of browsing social media before falling asleep, try putting a few drops of lavender in a bedside diffuser about an hour before you go to bed.
Another essential oil worth trying is orange, which has natural uplifting elements. Many people have had success using orange essential oil when they wake up in the morning, as it provides a refreshing boost to help start the day.
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