I will admit
I fell victim…
To downloading TikTok during the pandemic.
I also am an avid user of other social media platforms and want to take a moment to deep dive into the good, the bad, and the ugly!
Better than, less than
Polarizing in the information provided to you, lacking in neutral outlooks/inclusive information
Not to mention, the massive amounts of ads and money generated from the all-knowing algorithm. Do I need a Dyson hair dryer…. No. But do I needddddd it after seeing 484929 adds for it? Yes, why yes, I do. And thus, we fall into the trap of no need for pause, for hunting and gathering. Instant gratification is ours with a click of a button, connecting us to immediate purchases. I also am guilty of tracking that purchase and becoming irritated when the package DOesNT CoME wheNn tHeY SaID iT WoULD. *cue incessant refresh button
Let’s chat about comparison!
As humans, we fall into the trap of posting outcomes, not the miserable-difficult-boring mundane steps that got us to that graduation, proposal, promotion etc.
We don’t post the many structures involved in the building process; we post the colosseum.
When only shown highlights of people’s lives or the dichotomous ‘worst’ sides of someone’s story, we begin comparing ourselves, forgetting that while we see a snapshot, we don’t know the full story of someone’s experience. We judge, we don’t observe.
Personally, I have also seen a massive surge in the trend of “self-diagnosing” which extends into the realm of inflating the phenomenon of confirmation bias- what we want to find to fit our already existing beliefs, we will find. Thus, when I Google the plethora of symptoms and maladies I am experiencing and am fearful it is something horrible, l will find outcomes that support and exponentially increase my fear, while simultaneously quickly discarding the evidence that contradicts my fear.
Please ensure you work with a professional if you suspect there may be items you’d like to address within your own life and mental health.
Social media is not a replacement for professional help.
Let’s remember that even within each diagnosis, there is uniqueness and variability- everyone’s brains are beautiful and different.
Remember mental health struggles are not shameful character flaws.
So, Stop The pathology Talk
Let’s review some of the valid thoughts and arguments around the concern related to social media use.
This created someone’s (especially our younger generation) ED/ mental health issues
I didn’t grow up with social media and thus we don’t fully know the impact on developing brains with adapting executive processing skills. However, we also know that mental health struggles are complex, multifaceted issues. We cannot conclude that correlation always equals causation.
I just don’t understand it- I’m not into it….
Awesome! I don’t understand so many peoples past times or hobbies- however does that impact me? Nope! Let’s celebrate that everyone spends their time differently and not shame what people do or don’t do with their time.
It is all attention seeking
Again, note quite.
Let’s replace attention seeking, with connection seeking. All humans need social connection and interaction. Social media isn’t your identity or personality. People are whole, beautiful humans outside of their social media persona. Don’t forget that your worth isn’t tied to the amount of likes or friends or followers you have.
Social media is not all bad.
These outlets can provide us with a sense of connection, especially when in quarantine and/or far from our loved ones.
I can join a Facebook group for support
I can FaceTime my friend or Marco Polo them 17 times a day (guilty!)
- Education on amazing and innovative topics and concerns
- Critical thinking skills
- Artistic expression and creativity
- Platform to spread support and grace and love, not hate or disrespect
- Different ways of thinking and expanding our black and white thinking
- Empathy (make sure boundaries are in place, too as interactions can be draining and often there are no trigger warnings for tough topics and sensitive subjects)
- Humor- some videos and memes are Funny Funny Funny (And for me, laughter is such healing medicine!)
Some tips to healthfully navigate the social media spaces
Please remember that mental health is serious and social media at times minimizes all the pain that people experience. Again, we highlight the good and put a cute filter and funny dog ears on the bad. Humans are great at avoidance and deflection.
Notice how you use social media to “check out.” Notice how you may use your phone to orient when you may be feeling anxious, overwhelmed, upset, lonely. Social media is not a replacement for in person connection and support. It can be a mindful addition (auxiliary) – it doesn’t replace that human need for connection.
Be selective of WHO you follow. Often, influencers providing tips and tricks on nutrition, exercise, mental health skills….while well intended, it is still just one person’s perspective and may not be backed by reputable research or understanding of all angles of one’s struggle or topic. Within science, everything can be disproven!
Thus, please view and apply with caution.
Be mindful consumers
Set limits- The only detox I’ll ever EVER recommend is a social media and phone detox
Pause when triggered and think about commenting before you invade someone’s comments sections
The amount of cyber bullying I hear from my clients that they see or endure is horrible and terrifying
We never know someone’s story
So think twice before responding, posting, sharing
There’s always the block, unfollow button, mute
Delete from homepage
You have choices and power. You wouldn’t want the physical space around you decorated with images and ideas that disempower you. Ensure your social media presence uplifts you. Brightens your day. Supports you. Waters you.
Not drowns you.
Want more information on social media? Here are some further resources!
The negative effects of social media on the social identity of adolescents from the perspective of social work (nih.gov)
A Challenge with Social Media: Self-Diagnosing Mental Health | McGovern Medical School (uth.edu)
People Are Using Social Media To Self-Diagnose Mental Health Conditions – IFHP Mental Health News (ifhp-news.com)
As always, if you are struggling, reach out to us. Sinnergy is here to help. www.sinnergywellnessgroup.com