Social media and depression go hand in hand. It’s no secret that depression rates have skyrocketed since the development of social media. How does social media affect the mind? What can you do to break the cycle and preserve your mental health? Follow these tips from MHR Memphis.
How Social Media Increases Depression and Anxiety
Social media plays an active role in the modern world. Most people have an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or another social media platform. These platforms provide a place for loved ones to connect, but they also have addictive traits. These traits are what contribute to depression. Here are some reasons social media increases depression and anxiety symptoms:
- Social media encourages comparisons. You see someone who seems to be doing better than you, and you naturally feel worse about yourself.
- Social media is a filtered version of reality. People only display what they want others to see. This makes the comparisons worse because you’re trying to compare to an unrealistic ideal.
- Social media is addictive. When you see a notification on your phone, it releases a small dose of dopamine. This is the same ‘happy chemical’ that comes from cigarettes. The more you receive, the more your body and mind craves.
- Social media pulls people away from reality. People do not fully interact with one another because they spend time on their phones instead. It’s hard to form in-person connections when your mind is partly connected to social media.
- Social media is a distraction. It decreases a person’s productivity, which can make depression symptoms worse. You have less time or mental energy to accomplish tasks, so you feel unsuccessful at the end of the day.
How to Reduce Your Social Media Time
You don’t have to stay off social media completely. It can be a healthy outlet when used in moderation. The key is finding a balance that works for your lifestyle.
Start by restricting your social media access to just once device – your personal phone, the tablet you keep at home, your laptop, etc. Do not log in on other devices, especially if you use them at work. Limit the time you spend on social media by creating a schedule. Example: only check social media while you eat breakfast and after you come home from work. Do not check it on your lunch break or at least an hour before bed.
If you feel heavily addicted to social media, you may need to retrain your mind and body. Take a full week off – no social media access whatsoever. You may need longer than that, depending on your addiction. Find other ways to occupy your time, like reading a good book series or binge watching a show you’ve never seen. You will soon remember what life was like before social media.
Overcoming Depression with Personalized Therapy
Taking time off social media won’t cure your depression. It may help reduce depression symptoms, but there are other factors that contribute to depression. The best way to improve your mental health is through personalized depression therapy. You will work with a therapist one-on-one to find the root cause of your depression and coping mechanisms that work for you.
MHR Memphis has many licensed therapists on staff who specialize in depression treatment. To schedule an appointment with a depression therapist in Memphis TN, contact us at (901) 682-6136.