SOCIAL MEDIA AND MENTAL HEALTH

Raghav AwastySachetna

We live in the digital age, most of us are born in it. Our technology is no more the assistive tool that it was meant to be but has taken a deeper role of being an extension of our selves. Social media is one huge part of this extension. Most of us live a major chunk of our daily lives online. We post pictures, we follow celebrities, we like and comment on other peoples’ lives. And in doing all of this we have evolved as social beings. For the better or for the worse is up to you. 

As all things do, social media too has its good and bad sides. It is not only a medium to stay connected to the people you care about, but it is also a place which can bring out the worst of insecurities in you. This is where the implicit connection with mental health comes to the surface. We look at the ideal lives of people in affluent settings and criticise our lives, sometimes even taking drastic steps to try to emulate what’s in front of our eyes. We engage in mindless arguments with faceless and nameless profiles online to prove ourselves right and do not consider the words we’re typing. The lack of accountability online gives us the power to feel invincible but also makes us invisible. 

All of this certainly affects the mental health of an individual in many ways. From feeling insecure about your body, financial status among many things, to feeling dejected and trolled for having an opinion. Our attention spans are reduced to match that of a baby wherein we want something to entertain us in front of our eyes every fleeting moment. And this affects the way we treat other aspect of our lives. From relationships to the news that we see, everything has become fast paced. In this fast-paced world, the slow usually lose out. But that also means that in the race to keep up we end up ignoring our mental health until a breaking point comes.

So, what can we do? For one, we can reduce the time we spend on social media and substitute that with other social interactions with the people around us. But that may seem difficult for some. Another thing to do is to simply recognise that whatever we see or read online (purely confined to a social media setting) is only to be taken at face value and is not a real measure of a person’s worth just a projection that one wants to display to the rest of the world. Remember, your online presence is just a small aspect of your life and not the entirety of it.