Recent research has shown that negative correlations between social media consumption and an increase in mental health symptoms. See the article on the National Library of Medicine for a more in-depth article here. Additionally, a person can experience vicarious trauma from all of the world events occurring in society from the constant exposure to the media. From the War in Ukraine to the War in Israel and Gaza to gun violence back here in America. The media grabs at hard to read headlines because people are curious to know what is going on around the world.
Effects of Social Media on Our Self-Esteem
Social media itself is not ‘bad’ so to speak. It is a combination of what stories make the headlines and get prompted on our social media apps. From viewing the horrific events in our world to seeing others obtain higher levels of wealth or have ‘better’ life experience, we can become to feel powerless and helpless. This can have negative effects on our energy levels, self-esteem, and self-image as we continue to navigate our own lives.
Effects of Social Media on Our Mood
Along with the powerlessness, helplessness, and self-esteem challenges, viewing this type of material can put us in a crappy mood. People begin to question what’s the purpose of doing good in the world if climate change, wars, and violence continue? Our mood then affects others around us, at work, and in our own homes.
Social Media and Vicarious Trauma
The social media outlets have limited censors on the content they show, which can influence vicarious trauma and/or trauma symptoms over time. For many people who know others impacted by gun violence, war, and other stressors, it can take a personal toll. People can become so overwhelmed that their nervous system numbs out emotions (both pleasant and bad) just to make it through the day or when around others. This is adaptative, and our nervous system is doing what it needs to do to support us.
Constantly viewing disturbing posts can put us into a state of reactivity. This can make connecting with loved ones difficult or managing interpersonal conflict challenging. People who struggle with reactivity may then start to isolate or withdraw from social settings in order to not harm or hurt others.
Tips to Distance Yourself from Social Media
Below you will find some great ways to help regulate your nervous system and self-soothe. Our society has a tendency to go-go-go but sometimes we need to slow things down and reconnect with our bodies.
- Turn off your phone an hour or so before bed
- Set time limits for social media applications
- No technology while eating dinner
- Turn off technology while on walks or while in nature
Individual Counseling in Denver
Social media itself can have addictive properties. However, the information we consume on social media impacts our cognitive thoughts and our mood. If these things feel like too much to bear, seeking out an individual counselor for support can be a great benefit. Through our work we will begin to process and relieve the stressors that have built up over time. Submit a form here to start working with an individual counseling in South Denver.