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  • Social Media and Mental Health: Protecting Your Mental Health in a Digital World Tips for Mental Health Awareness Month

    Written by our team at Authentic Connections Counseling

    In today’s digital age, social media has become more and more integrated into our lives. While it has certainly connected us in countless ways, or at least helped us take better selfies, there’s also a dark side to social media that can negatively impact our mental health. That’s why today, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re exploring how to protect our mental health while navigating social media. Let’s dive in below!

    The impact of social media on mental health

    Social media undoubtedly has the power to be both a source of joy and support as well as a potential detriment to us and our mental health journeys. Many studies have shown that it can impact us both positively and negatively, depending on the way we use it. 

    Let’s dive deeper into the key differences: 

    On the one hand, positive studies show social media has been known to promote connectedness and a sense of community, which are essential components of mental health. 

    On the other hand, it can also contribute to increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation.

    Furthermore, social media use can be linked with several negative outcomes, including:

    • Increased feelings of loneliness and isolation.

    • Low self-esteem and poor self-worth.

    • Very low sleep quality, difficulty going to bed, or staying asleep at night.

    • Exposure to cyberbullying and harassment.

    How to protect your mental health while using social media

    So when focusing on preventing the negative aspects of social media and reducing its harm and impact, there are things you can do to protect your mental health while using social media. 

    So here are a few tips curated by our team of Castle Rock -based therapists at Authentic Connections Counseling to keep in mind the next time you’re scrolling through your favorite app:

    Set limits on screen time: One of the best ways to protect your mental health is to limit the amount of time you spend on social media. Consider setting a specific time each day to check and use social media.

    Curate your social media feeds: Make it a habit to regularly evaluate the accounts you follow on social media. If any accounts make you feel bad about yourself or triggers negative emotions, it may be time to unfollow them.

    Engage with positivity: Instead of focusing on negative content, try to engage with and create positive content on social media. Send positive messages to friends or family, or create and share inspirational posts. Also, consider unfollowing any accounts that may make you feel inadequate and instead try to follow accounts that bring you joy and motivate you.

    Take breaks: This is related to the above point about setting limits, but it’s important to take time away from social media to protect your mental health. Consider taking a full-day break every week or a social media detox for a few hours. This may be easier said than done, but try putting your phone down and being in nature, or maybe dive into your favorite book during this time.

    Be mindful of comparison traps: Social media can make it easy to fall into comparing ourselves to others. Remind yourself that people are sharing the highlights of their lives and that everyone faces challenges and struggles. Even Kardashians!

    Resources

    If you’re struggling with your mental health, there are resources available to help you. At Authentic Connections Counseling, we offer a variety of therapy services to support individuals and families in working through their mental health concerns. These services include Anxiety Treatment, Depression Treatment, and our team of therapists are available for you online or in our comfortable offices in Castle Rock, Colorado, to help you with your mental health journey.

    We also have a variety of online resources to help you learn more about self-care, mental health topics, and more. Tap into our Mental Health Blog to learn more.

    We hope this article gives you some insight into how to protect your mental health while using social media. Remember, while we aim to provide you with helpful tips, nothing replaces the support of a licensed therapist who can work with you to identify effective strategies to boost your well-being and improve your mental health.

    Conclusion

    Social media is a powerful tool that can be both helpful and harmful to our mental health. By being mindful of how we use it and taking steps to protect ourselves, we can enjoy the many benefits of social media while minimizing the negative impact it can have on our well-being. Remember, your mental health matters, so it’s important to prioritize self-care and seek support when you need it.

    If you need additional support, don’t hesitate to contact us today. At Authentic Connections Counseling, we encourage you to take a deep breath, shake off the stress, and know that we’re here for you!