Social Media and Mental Health: two things that don’t go together

Eilyn Tepale

Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest,—what do all of those have in common? If you said pictures and likes you are correct! But what is the real purpose behind all of it?

After scrolling through your instagram feed and seeing a McDonald’s ad three times, you might say, “hey I think I want a hamburger for dinner tonight”. If you follow ten puppy accounts, chances are you want a dog. So maybe if you consistently see couples on your timeline, you’ll feel lonely and feel the need to get into a relationship. 

Most people want a good group of friends and relationships but social media amplifies that to an unhealthy level. A person will end up feeling worse after spending an hour looking at their screen and have a more intense longing for a certain amount of friends or a significant other to feel loved, appreciated or even important. Others are affected in the sense that they seek an unrealistic lifestyle. They yearn for thousands of likes on a bikini pic in Bora Bora. But we all know that’s not going to be happening anytime soon.

Constantly thinking to yourself, “They’re so lucky” , “Why can’t I be like them” or “I will never be able to do that” can lead to low self-esteem and depressive thoughts. Over a longer period of time this could become a serious problem and cause you to have to take immediate action.

So why not get to the root and stop the problem now? There are tons of things to do rather than stare at a device all day that makes you feel like you need to change who you are to fit in. Forget about the followers, subscribers, likes, tweets, snaps, forget it ALL. They will always be there for you to waste time when you’re bored. Give yourself a break and focus on what’s really important to you. Spend time with your family, go out with your friends (doesn’t matter if you only have two), play some sports, go shopping, partying, whatever it may be–do everything you can while you still can. Generations before us lived without social media, so why can’t we do the same?