Social Media and Self-Esteem

What was once a social platform for college students erupted into the primary way of communication and public sharing for the world.

Various social media platforms, especially Facebook and Instagram, have become exponentially popular over the past several years. They have become incredibly influential community sources for world news, dating, advice, business product and service marketing, shopping, cancel culture, politics, entertainment, and much more.

Of course, they’ve also become a public platform to discuss every topic imaginable – and worse, a point of comparison between ourselves and the images that others post for recognition.

These are the very things that can cause social media to negatively impact yourself-esteem. Read on to learn more about how social media may be hurting your self-esteem and causing your feelings of depression.

Is Social Media Hurting Your Self-Esteem?

While social media can support the cultivation of friendships, it’s also directly linked to self-esteem and life satisfaction. This is especially true for younger generations.

This is largely because people only post their “highlights,” as in, the best-looking photos of themselves, the “cool” activities they’re doing, their cute outfits, expensive vacations and dinners, relationships, successes, accomplishments, and so on.

It used to be that dangerously unrealistic standards were left up to the beauty and fashion magazines, featuring photoshopped celebrities, and models. Now, we have our very own peers setting the stage for what’s socially acceptable and beautiful. Not many people post their struggles or not-so-pretty photos, which only perpetuates these unrealistic standards for success, happiness, and beauty.

There’s also the validation factor caused by the incoming stream of “likes” and comments from other users each time you post a photo. While it’s perfectly normal to gain a self-esteem boost from such positive reactions, after a while, many people start to crave such validation, and it begins to affect how we value ourselves.

As we spend more time on social media scrolling through these “real people” with their beauty, perfect bodies, and perfect lives, we begin to compare ourselves and our own lives, which leaves us feeling inadequate.

Social Media, COVID, and Depression

While many of us enjoy staying connected and scrolling through our feeds for the latest updates and funny memes to share, multiple studies show that excessive social media useis invariably linked to feelings of anxiety, depression, loneliness, isolation, and more.

Human beings are naturally social creatures. We depend on companionship to survive andthrive, which means the strength of our social bonds with other humans directly affects our mental health and happiness.

On the outside, it would seem that social media platforms that allow us to connect with others on a global scale would ease our stresses and anxieties, thereby increasing our happiness and state of mental health.

However, social media is not a replacement for real-world human connection. We require in-person contact to trigger the hormones that alleviate stress and bring positivity into our lives.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, most of us have relied on social media as our outlet for updates on the pandemic, peer support, and entertainment. Unfortunately, it has also led us to habitual excessive social media use, which studies show is actually making us more depressed.

Is it Time for a Social Media Break?

Although it may seem difficult, especially after months of lock-down and isolation, it’s time to practice the art of the “social media break.” In other words, it’s time to cut back on excessive social media use by limiting our exposure to these virtual platforms to form newer and healthier habits.

Of course, excessive social media use could also be a sign of an underlying problem, such as depression. If this is the case, that excessive use can also be exacerbating the problem. If taking a social media break doesn’t help your mental health, there may be something we can do.

Contact us to learn more about our mental health services or to schedule an appointment.

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