I am hypersensitive. I am a bit depressed and a bit traumatized. Moreover, I am insecure, over reflective, I was going through bad times and sometimes I image hurting or killing myself. Well, this sounds like a lot, but actually, it is not even enough to guarantee me a therapy place (therapist in Germany are very much booked out) and, from what I know about my friends, it is quite average. It seems like, we are all dealing with something. And of course, everybody has problems and issues, but the way changed in which we deal with them. Social media is creating the image of a perfect world, in which everybody is productive, successful and all day long good looking. And even if they admit, that the images, that they present, are only a small bit of their realities, it makes this perfect world only realer.
I guess, my biggest problem is me, I am the one who stresses me most. But is it just me? Is it just me who cannot distinguish beautiful pictures and real life? Many scientist and studies came to the conclusion that, no, it is definitive also the direct influence of social media and our permanent connection to the internet. We are checking our phones more than 28 times a day, it is often the first thing we do in the morning and the last thing we look at before we sleep. Most people, including myself, are never turning their phones off - They are always there, always reachable, always helping to kill a second of silence.
Self-esteem is a big issues, caused by social media. Constantly looking at filtered photos on Instagram, perfect profiles on Facebook and exiting vlogs on Youtube has an effect on the way, how we see ourselves. Researcher from Sweden called it the „Facebook Envy“, its the relativity of our self worth and our achievements compared to others. There is always someone, who is thinner, who is more successful or happier. And yes, I am very reflective and try not to take social media that serious, but it still has an undeniable effect on me: It creates a new way of normal. This life is normal, and everybody else is not trying hard enough to reach this.
It sounds very ironic, but human connections are even loosing through social media. Yes, we are more connected and feel closer to people all over the world. But how much give us virtual messages, likes and comments? Can it replace a human contact. An American study showed, that the constant use of Facebook has a negative effect on our social life and our life satisfaction.
It can even effect our memory and our perception of time. Trying hard to take the best pic of the moment, the staging of important moments of our lives and the constant though of how to present ourselves best to the public led to a poor enjoyment. Our perception of time and of our life time is distorted. This is also strongly connected to our ability to concentrate and to focus. I am sure, most recognize theirselves here, it is getting increasingly harder to concentrate, our attention span is shorting from day to day. For instance, I cannot even simply watch a movie, I will check my phone and scroll though my facebook all the time. We are becoming addicted to this immense amount of information - Anything less will be regarded as boring.
Since we stare at our screens all the time, our sleep is heavily effected: We use social media as way of relaxation and entertainment, thats why we watch a lot of Youtube or use Facebook at the end of the day. But this is actually not relaxing our brains: With all the emotions social media awakes, our brains are highly alarmed and active while using it, so it makes it very hard to fall asleep or to doze off. Also the light from the screens affects the quality of sleep: This very close light can prevent the production and release of melatonin, the hormone to sleep.
There is a clear correlation between the heavy use of social media and mental health issues, and actually many people are already reducing their consumption of social media, some are even quitting their accounts. But of course, not everybody wants to take such drastic action, the use of social media has of course its advantages. But I would definitely recommend to try this Social Media Diet, and if its hard for you to follow it, you might be addicted to it…
Social Media Diet:
- Turn your phone off before you are going to sleep ( at least put it on flight mode!) and use it earliest at breakfast
- Remove Social Media apps from your phone, you will see, it is less likely that you open the page on your browser than in an app ;)
- If you spend time with friends or family, turn your phone off and concentrate fully on them
- Reflect on what you do on social media and why - Can you reduce your consumption?
- Try to stay with people in contact by other means: It is harder, but it gives you more satisfaction that the permanent, lose contact through social media!