Clicking "Unfollow" For Better Mental Health

Toby Ford, AMFT130803 on May 16, 2022 in Mood and Feelings

Mental health distress is through the roof these days, and you can partly thank not only the pandemic but social media. What else do you want us to do when we’re stuck inside our homes? Of course we’re going to engage in social media for our entertainment and connection to others. But at what price? One of the most common activities of present generation is excessive use of social media websites. Studies have shown that social media envy can affect the level of anxiety and depression in individuals (Karim, F. et al., 2020).

So what can we do? UNFOLLOW.

It’s a great idea every once in a while to clean house on your social media accounts. Ask yourself if the account is adding joy to your life or subtracting it. For example, you follow a weight loss influencer and pictures are of a no-body-fat “perfect” body that you hope will inspire you, but it backfires and you click off the pic feeling bad about your own appearance and you raid the fridge. Or you follow a politic site that gets you angry or worked up or even depressed at the state of the world we live in. Don’t get me wrong, I get that you want to be informed and healthy, but at what cost? How often are you looking at these sites each day? If you’re not willing to unfollow those sites, at least limit the screen time.

As many as 90% of young adults use social media currently, compared to just 12.5% in 2005 (Bettman, J. E., 2021). Literature suggests that young adults’ social media use correlates with their depressive and anxious symptoms.

If it’s something you need help overcoming and working through, that’s what therapy is for. Therapy has evolved with the times and the current issues that people face, such as technology. Video game addiction is real. Psychologists estimate that as many as 5 to 10% of Americans meet the criteria for social media addiction today. According to addictioncenter.com, social media addiction is a behavioral addiction that is characterized as being overly concerned about social media, driven by an uncontrollable urge to log on to or use social media, and devoting so much time and effort to social media that it impairs other important life areas.

Resource

Karim, F., Oyewande, A. A., Abdalla, L. F., Chaudhry Ehsanullah, R., & Khan, S. (2020). Social Media Use and Its Connection to Mental Health: A Systematic Review. Cureus, 12(6), e8627. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus...

Bettmann, J. E., Anstadt, G., Casselman, B., & Ganesh, K. (2021). Young adult depression and anxiety linked to social media use: Assessment and treatment. Clinical Social Work Journal, 49(3), 368–379. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10615...

Toby Ford is a Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Tustin, CA.
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