Social media has become a first-hand source of information and news for people all over the world. But its role in affecting the mental health of people has also been highlighted ever since this pandemic has started. Adding up, the US presidential election caused stress in nearly 68% of the people, according to a poll report. This means social media is behind this increased stress and taking a break from your online accounts may actually improve your mental health.
American Psychological Association (APA) conducted a survey with the help of The Harris Poll where 68% of adult citizens reported that this presidential election caused extreme stress in their lives. Comparing it to the previous elections, this time, the stress was 52% more. However, elections are just one way of causing stress through social media. Other events such as coronavirus information, source, spread, and treatment are also a big source of stress through social media this year. In general, one way to avoid this unwanted stress is to leave social medial for some time.
Erin Vogel from Stanford University is a social psychologist. According to her, taking a small break from social media accounts can help people in many ways because this platform is highly polarized. Additionally, it is full of misinformation which can easily stress any person.
Contrary to the popular belief, it is still possible to be well-informed without using social media. Although most people endorse the role of social media for a more responsible, informed, and woke role in society, but the potential to negatively affect mental health can’t be ignored. It can make a person feel well-connected and lonely at the same time. And the social media linked stress can lower a person’s self-esteem, confidence, cause depression, or bring other undesirable effects.
A previous study from 2018 on Uni of Penn students revealed that students who reduced their social media time to 10 minutes or less per day experienced improved stress levels, personal relations, and a significant reduction in feeling lonely. These results were observed after three weeks where the experimental group and control group were analyzed.
According to psychologists people tend to present themselves as they actually want them to be but it is not necessary that whatever we see online is true. Watching the ‘happy moments’ of others can make another person compare his life with them. It is also possible to spend too much time on social media and leaving no time for real work. All of this can make any person depressed and anxious.
Reading false information, misinterpreting public comments, and feeling the tone and nature of heated arguments on social media especially related to controversial topics like religion or politics can easily hurt someone.
Given that events are turning out to be unfortunate at this moment, it is best to give your brain and body some rest and take a break from social media. One can start doing it by following steps.
- Delete all the social media apps on your electronic devices.
- Try to find a new hobby or build a habit to pass time.
- Ignore political, religious, and other controversial news.
- Start to ignore the comments section when you are reading news on another website.
- Find positivity around you and lead its path.