How does social media consumption impact your mental health? A topic I would like to focus on in this year year–the relationship between social media use and mental health. In particular, I am become interested in the nature of the relationship between social media use and depression. Here is a first article that raises some very interesting questions. The link to the full article can be found below.
“That negative cycle begins when you spend long periods of time on social media, time taken away from other activities that might encourage better emotional health, like exercising, meeting up with friends, and engaging in other activities that provide pleasure. In fact, according to the 2010 Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, social media users who consume the highest amounts of content report a decrease in social bonding and an increase in loneliness.
Dr. Mihalas points out several possible negative outcomes from a dependence on social media:
It furthers the vicious cycle of sitting at home by yourself and being remote.
You become a victim of your own thoughts as you become less attuned to the outside world around you.
You might get steered into chat rooms with people who prompt negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions instead of engaging with people who are living a more positive, healthier lifestyle.
Additionally, an element of depression is that it can lead you to process information with a negative bias and have dysfunctional beliefs, says Natascha M. Santos, PsyD, a psychologist and an adjunct assistant professor at NYU and SUNY Old Westbury. Participating in social media through the lens of depression can enable this type of negative thinking and validate faulty beliefs. For instance, you might process photos, Tweets, and posts in a way that glamorizes the lives of others, which may or may not be what they seem, she says. This negative bias can lead you to minimize the positives of your own relationships when held up in comparison to relationships presented to you through a set of photos and carefully crafted status updates.”