Can your social media habits affect your mental health?

Can your social media habits affect your mental health?

Social media has quickly become part of many people’s everyday lives. You might be scrolling through feeds from the moment you wake up to the minutes you fall asleep.

Which begs the question, is the prevalence of social media a bad thing? Does social media have a negative influence on how people may view their body?

Many social media apps have “filters” that can alter appearance. These filters can modify facial features to “smooth” the face, make eyes appear larger and even whiten teeth.

While some find this an appealing way to hide imperfections that they’re insecure about, researchers have suggested it can also be damaging to one’s mental health.

“Social media has a significant influence on image in general,” says Dr. Munther Barakat, a psychologist at Aurora Psychiatric Hospital in Wauwatosa, Wis. “Especially considering people typically post an image of themselves that’s ideal. People from the outside only see the positive aspects of a person’s life and will internalize this, leading to depressive like symptoms because they feel that their lives don’t compare well.”

Dr. Barakat also explains that getting “likes” or views increases positive attention, which could lead one to think this is how you are supposed to look.

If you find yourself spending too much time on social media every day, try to be more deliberate about your phone use.

  • Limit your social media checks to a few certain times per day.
  • When you’re at work, get up and walk around instead of looking at your phone.
  • Unfollow or block people on social media who make you feel bad about yourself.

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About the Author

Anna Herff
Anna Herff

Anna Herff, health enews contributor, is a social media intern at Advocate Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. A senior at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, graduating in May with a BA in communications, Anna is excited to dive head first into her professional career. When Anna isn’t participating in her sorority or spending countless hours in the library, she enjoys watching the university wrestling team or savoring a latte from her favorite café.