Low Self-Esteem? Social Media May Be To Blame
Social media can be a great tool to reconnect with old friends and keep up with new ones. You can update people on how your life is going through videos or photos as well as venting your thoughts. So, what harm could come from having a social media account?
Evidence has suggested that social media can negatively affect your self-esteem and life satisfaction. One study in JAMA Psychiatry said, “that adolescents who spent more than three hours daily on social media were at an increased risk for mental health problems. These problems may include anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, a negative self-image, or loneliness. Teenage girls especially may feel threatened when they see their friends post “perfect” photos of themselves or celebrities.
If more people did activities that would boost their mental health in place of social media, they might be much more content. Taking social media breaks gives us more time to spend with friends, pets and loved ones.
Social Media Facade
If you are ever away from your family or friends, you want to give them an image like you are doing okay. This can mean only posting photos of you having fun or posting inspirational quotes. Evidence like this can make it seem to outsiders as if you are living a problem-free life. People may never know the struggles, challenges or problems you are facing. People who create an idealized persona may feel low self-esteem as they wish that the image they presented online was who they really were. If you spend hours pretending to be “perfect,” it can be harder to accept your imperfections and your authentic self.
Perceptions of “Perfect” People
Another problem with social media is when people look at the social media accounts of others and think what they see is the truth. Often people see their friends and acquaintances posts showing too good to be true relationships, amazing careers, exotic travel, and these may become painful reminders of what their life is lacking. These images bring about feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and even depression. It may lead to falling into an unhealthy comparison trap. It is important to remember that typically people tend to tell only part of the truth on social media.
Healthier Positive Habits
If social media scrolling is the only hobby you have during your free time, there is a good chance your self-esteem will worsen over time. Some healthier habits to incorporate into your life may include-
• Hobbies- Taking part in hobbies or playing sports can be great ways to be active, increase your endorphins and improve your mood. Finding community clubs and leagues where you can make new friends with shared interests and be accountable to others is also a great way to ensure your hobbies do not get neglected.
• Volunteer- Contributing to those less fortunate can make you feel good about yourself. Giving your time and talent may provide you with a sense of purpose and boost your self-esteem knowing you made a difference.
• Healthier Diet- What you eat affects the way you feel. Eating healthy choices like fruits, vegetables, Omega-3s, and others will boost those feel-good chemicals your brain makes. Avoiding sugar highs and lows will improve your mood and sleep.
• Sleep- Social media has a tendency to make it harder to sleep due to the bright screens from your phone or computer. Limit your screen-time at night, get off your phone and computer at least one hour before trying to fall asleep. Listening to music or meditating is helpful too.
Social media may have good uses when it comes to connecting with friends and keeping in touch, but it is important that we do not let social media change how we see ourselves. There is a difference between being the best and being your best. If you are having issues with your self-esteem, anxiety, or overwhelming sadness please speak to a therapist immediately. Read more about anxiety treatment and schedule your first appointment right away.